Monday, July 09, 2018

Unions Feeling the Pinch--but the Pinching Has Only Just Begun

The Chief ($) reports that union leaders are trimming their budgets in anticipation of Janus losses. NEA anticipates a 14% loss over the next few years. They're projecting based on losses in so-called right to work states. While the article doesn't provide figures, I'm sure AFT and UFT are doing the same. We've heard some talk about it at Executive Board, though I don't recall the exact details.

I'm not surprised by any of this, and I don't suppose regular readers of this blog are either. There are some details toward the end of the piece that grabbed my attention a little more. One is encouraging:

Though membership has dropped significantly in right-to-work states, those are also the areas where the union has experienced the greatest membership growth, thanks to a series of Teacher strikes earlier this year in five states, including West Virginia, Arizona and Oklahoma. The NEA added 2,000 new members in Arizona after its strike.

It's good to see that, having pretty much hit bottom, people are signing up for union and looking for ways to improve their lot. I've read and heard a lot about what hitting bottom means. It's going a decade without a raise. It's having your pay cut by $10,000 because some genius in the government decides they can give tax cuts to zillionaires by slashing teacher pay. It's paying $10,000 a year extra for health insurance because another genius in the government decides that's another great way to fund tax cuts for zillionaires.

Me, I'd prefer to fight now and avoid hitting bottom. But it's entirely possible we could. Many states that were union strong are now crippled by right to work, and that's exactly what they have in mind for us. The people who financed Janus are the scum of the earth and they aim to break us.

Right-to-work groups targeting Teachers isn’t the only attack the unions have to prepare for: there may be legal challenges as well. The NEA, along with the American Federation of Teachers, is facing a suit from California educators seeking refunds of past agency fees. Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, noted that the Janus ruling did not mention back payments.

Imagine that. They want to retroactively enforce the ruling, against the old ruling, so as to empty union coffers. And the fact is, with the corporatist lunatics sitting on the Supreme Court, they could well pull it off. The entire notion of justice has nothing to do with what they do up there, and their tenure is a whole lot better than ours. Just because they don't remotely do the job of representing the American people is no reason for them to lose their lifetime gigs.

We already know what follows, because we've seen it in Wisconsin. They will surely come after collective bargaining next. You'll take what you'll get and you'll like it. Now in Wisconsin they allowed police and firefighters to keep collective bargaining. After all, they need someone with some degree of commitment to guard the state house when teachers come after Walker with torches and pitchforks.

I'm certain a Trump Supreme Court would entertain that. If the right-wing lunatics in Wisconsin passed it, the right-wing lunatics on SCOTUS would pass it too. Who knows what else they'll entertain? Wasn't it Newt Gingrich who talked about putting children to work cleaning up schools? Are we gonna repeal child labor laws?

We live in a country that rips young children from their parents, puts them in cages, and expects them to defend themselves in court without a lawyer. I couldn't make this stuff up. These same people have painted targets on our backs for the crime of teaching American's children and expecting to be compensated for it. It's on us to give them a fight like they've never seen before.
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