Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Post Janus Landscape Is Upon Us - Which Side Are You On?

In case you were vacationing in a cave in the tribal region of Waziristan and somehow missed the news, the Janus case was decided predictably by the Supreme Court. Another blow has been struck against organized labor on behalf of corporations and billionaires. As a result of the decision public sector unions have lost the right to collect dues from members. Member must now sign a card expressing their desire to have dues deducted. No big deal you say, who wouldn't sign and pay dues for the protection of a union especially in the era of teacher hating corporate ed reform? 

Now there's a question isn't it? Who exactly would try to dodge out of paying their fare share to enjoy the salary raises like the one we just got for starters? Who are the teachers that would try to  take advantage of the situation where it's now technically doable to rake in the job protections, the health and dental benefits and the general peace of mind we enjoy as members of collective bargaining agreements without paying their dues? What kind of cheapskate, penny pinching short sighted shitheads would think that sitting back and refusing to pay dues while everyone around them pays dues is going to be a good move in the long term? We all have a good guess already of who these teachers are based simply on their attitudes about unions and their unwillingness to tip a server. There will be a few you can bank on it. 

Big picture though I am hard pressed to imagine how anyone employed as a public school teacher in 2018 can look at the crowd funding of this awful case by entities like the Koch Brothers and the Wal Mart Waltons never mind our own Secretary of Miseducation's Betsy Devos by way of her Mackinac Center and think that these billionaire players are looking out for them by allowing them to ditch out of supporting their union with a few bucks a month. Do you really think these union busting zillionaires are trying to protect you from being bullied by Phil and Becky picking your pocket?  Seriously? If you honestly think that I have to conclude you are way too stupid to be a teacher. 

I'll conclude with a cautionary tale from my earliest days teaching in Buffalo. I started at Burgard Vocational in 1988 teaching in an old woodshop in the back hallway of the first floor.  A security guard I'd worked with previously at Ken High told me where the ditto machine was, who ran the coffee club and who all the scabs were. I was then introduced to my mentor/co-teacher who told me what paper to use for plans, when IEP's were due and who all the scabs were. My first free period I went to the faculty room for coffee and they told me some guys cooked pepper and onion sandwiches on Fridays if I wanted one, also who ran the check pool and who the scabs were. Mind you the strike took place in 1976 and this was 12 years later. If you think it's going to be cool and NBD to slide along not paying your dues because Betsy and the Waltons and the Kochs bought a Supreme Court ruling to bust unions you should probably check that impulse. We have a great opportunity now to stand together and stand up against the oligarchs who want us to be paid in firewood and left hooks. If you think your union dues are too high a price to pay for benefits and protections then do right by yourself and the rest of us and go teach somewhere without a union. Let us know how it goes. 


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  2. Great piece Sean. Thanks for writing it.

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