Teacher Strike in Chicago – The Ugly Side of Unions
Anyone who has a knowledge of history, or who has read such brutal depictions of life in the early 20th century before unions as “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair, knows that unions were critical in America. Those were cruel times, and exploitation of workers in an unbalanced economy was epidemic.
But we find the opposite problem in Chicago right now. The Teacher’s Union has all of the power. Teachers are on strike, refusing to teach the children of Chicago citing the dangers of COVID. They claim to be looking after the interests of teachers AND children, and they want to continue remote teaching.
But this has gone too far. The children of Chicago are not in school, they are not learning, they are isolated, the school system is broken. The Chicago Teachers’ Union has decided that it knows more about COVID than the Chicago Public Health Commissioner and the elected leadership of Chicago. This is an abuse of power, it is as simple as that.
This is where you ask the question, “Who elected the Teacher’s Union to run Chicago’s education system?”
Elected? That would be Lori Lightfoot, who has presided over the worst crime record in recent Chicago history . She is in hot water with her police force and in some people’s opinions, is the worst mayor in Chicago history.
The Chicago Teachers’ Union likely contributed to Major Lori Lightfoot’s campaign. With all of the other bad decisions she has made, Lightfoot and the Democratic Party believe they cannot afford to alienate them.
It has rendered her powerless.
Lightfoot has said that teachers who do not show up will be put on “no pay” status. This is an empty threat though because the teachers know that eventually they will get back pay. I know a dozen politicians who could solve this in a heartbeat, but she won’t.
What is the solution?
Let me pretend that I am omniscient and omnipotent. Here is what should happen (i.e., what Trump would do…).
A. Chicago needs to elect a Republican Mayor. Ha! They have not had a Republican Mayor since 1927, the political machine there is so corrupt that no Republican has a chance. But is it possible to find a Democrat Mayor who has some guts and is willing to take on the Teachers’ Union? Let’s pretend yes.
B. Like Ronald Reagan did with the air traffic controllers in 1981, the mayor should fire all teachers who do not show up for work. If any of the officers in the Teacher’s Union are on the public payroll, then fire them.
C. Don’t be a wimp. Don’t grant back pay, don’t rehire teachers that you fire. Accept that you will be in court for a long time. Stretch it out for about five years and then make a settlement that doesn’t include paying backpay or hiring back anyone. The City of Chicago has to be determined to win. Appeasement means failure and repetition in the future.
This is the difference between representing the interests of your members and attempting to coerce a city into accepting a massive failure in its education system.
I have zero respect for Lori Lightfoot and her administration, but she was elected and she is responsible to the voters.
Sometimes unions need to be broken.