Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Have A Dream

There is something inherently evil about a system where some are expected, or taxed to the point of, being required to work past the age of 70 so that the non-productive sector of the labor force can retire at age 55.

May the screws applied to the public sector unions be long, slow, and deep.

18 comments:

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

I really like the idea of making all [strike]gov't[/strike] jobs right-to-work, and making unions responsible for their own billing. (Ie, no automatic deduction that non-union members then have to petition the union to get back whatever amount they are in theory allowed.)

Not a lot of reason for public sector to have unions-- what are they being protected from? Profit-seeking tax payers?

Brian said...

I think the argument could be made that public sector unions protect their members from the caprice of the political process. (Not necessarily making that argument myself, but I think it is a legitimate one.)

Clearly they are a different (and probably less essential) animal than their private sector counterparts.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

With quid pro quo going on it seems pretty clear that it is the taxpayers who need protecting, not government workers.

RW said...

You're right. They should be taken off their pension and put back into the work force where they can collect unemployment because there aren't any jobs.

We have to cut government spending. Scaling back a whole shitload of agencies by cutting down the work force on the payroll is a good place to start. Of course they'll go on unemployment also and then we'll REALLY be paying them for doing nothing. And when unemployment runs out and they still can't find work, let them fucking starve. I don't give a shit.

That'll solve everything.

Mr. D said...

Of course they'll go on unemployment also and then we'll REALLY be paying them for doing nothing. And when unemployment runs out and they still can't find work, let them fucking starve. I don't give a shit.

Wait, government employees are unemployable if they leave government? They have no shot at getting a job? Dang -- did not know that.

Gino said...

nobody has a shot at a job in this economy.
unless you happen to be in texas. they only got like 10% unemployment there. must be doing something right.

Brian said...

A friend of mine pointed out (on FB) that the five states that do not currently allow their teachers collective bargaining (NC, SC, GA, TX and VA) are ranked 47-50th and 44th in terms of ACT and SAT scores. (Haven't checked this for myself, but I believe her.) I'd bet if you plotted most any metric of student achievement against teacher pay (esp. if you adjust for cost of living variation) you'd have a reasonable correlation.

Budget's gotta balance, but you do tend to get what you pay for...

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

You're assuming that teacher pay tracks collective bargaining-- it doesn't seem to. (Keep in mind, just to be more complex, $100 in San Diego isn't the same as $100, oh, Idaho. The Teacherportal site ranks Texas as in the top ten states where a teacher's pay will go the furthest. Texas is also in the top twenty for starting salary.)

here are the ACT scores by state for '08, here's the SAT for '10. (What jumps out at me with that SAT data is that the higher % participate, the lower the overall score is--nobody in the top 20 had more than one in five students taking it.)

I don't know what data your friend was using, but SAT/ACT scores as a proxy for teacher quality linked to lack of collective bargaining as a proxy for compensation doesn't seem like a very good choice. (In no small part because of different education goals in different areas-- I know that Cali, for example, has a lot of school issues stemming from a lot of students not speaking the same language as the teachers. Ever try to teach history to someone who's only spoken Tagalog all their life?)

Additional amusement: collective bargaining for PAY isn't being threatened, collective bargaining for future benefits is. (that is, they want to take the cheap grace option out of the system)

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Oh, and I chose the sites by picking the first results on google that looked legit and could be sorted, just to avoid bias. ^.^

Gino said...

brian: explain how better education is usually achieved with lower paid parochial teachers?

NC,SC,GA, VA are geographically related, so the lower scores may have to do with other cultural factors.

if you had OR, TX, IL and NH in that list, there may be something to it just on its face.
as it is, i see other potential patterns in play besides collective bargaining.

I'd bet if you plotted most any metric of student achievement against teacher pay
and lower paid parochial schools would fit into this how?

i received a better education than i deserved, and was taught by the lowest paid teachers you can think of, in an (what some would call) underfunded school.
teacher pay is not an issue when factored againts to other elements, like class room discipline, standards, home environment, culture, parenting...

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Gino delicately makes the correct point: the South has different cultural-historical forces at work and different demographics.

Bike Bubba said...

Exactly how do we make a causation argument that collective bargaining helps student achievement? Smart people VOLUNTARILY hang around Teamsters goons, then?

And 100 years of federal discrimination against the South didn't help create a culture where education was more difficult? Am I getting this one right?

I think the real issue here is not teachers' unions, but rather a school funding equation that creates a virtual monopoly for the government schools. Get private and parochial schools to be able to take a lot of the overflow from gummint schools, and the power equation will change markedly--just as it did for the UAW when Toyota and Honda got big.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

I still think that what really has the unions scared is the notion of someone taking away their ability to force people to join and force people to give them money.

One of the college teachers on Ricochet pointed out that he had an option-- don't join the union, still be forced to pay 85% of the dues and not be allowed to have any representation at all for any faculty actions, or pay the full amount and be allowed a vote in all of that as well as how the money would be spent.

Brian said...

Just stirring the pot here, guys (effectively, it would appear)...I think I've made it pretty clear I'm ambivalent about this stuff.

I just don't think it's as simple as unions = bad or unions = good.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

*dryly* So glad you don't think it's as simple as nobody's making it.

Gino said...

yes, brian. you always bring the longest spoon. i like that, actually.

kr said...

charter school mom speaking up here

we have been going back and forth at my school about levels of protection for the faculty (no union requirement in Oregon charters, in California I gather there is one, no surprise : P ) vs levels of protection for the organization, the families/students, the administration ... none of which of course we would hope have significant conflicts with any/all faculty members but reality is reality and the question arises.

I see unions as useful for a while in most organization but significantly damaging in most times and developmental stages. Now I am in charge of some stuff and am really having to face up to what it means if *I* am carrying the big stick ... fabulous if I am responsive and responsible, but what if the people who come after me aren't? Unions are a reasonable instinctual answer to that. Right now we are doing what we can to build a workplace that feels safe enough for employees that they won't feel a need to unionize. There is not a perfect answer, and the minute anyone comes to the table with anything except goodwill everyone is screwed. : P.

Unions as a concept aside, and Gino's rather vague assertion to the front ;), it wasn't so long ago everyone was expected to work until they died (even after life expectancy started increasing). Speaking in logic here and not my actual opinion: some part of society being enabled to have a more "ideal" life is not an unreasonable choice for the government to make ... a pilot program, demonstrating the goals, holding to ideals ... these things are arguably within the traditional role of government ;). And probably these boons are not being given only to the rich kids (although that maybe because the rich kids families keep them out of that loop).

M'self, I am not so sure the expectation of early retirement is ideal, so whatevs. But then, I disagree with just about everything the establishment culture says is ideal, and therefore object to a lot of government spending, so this is not an exception ;). (SIGH.)

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

I see unions as useful for a while in most organization but significantly damaging in most times and developmental stages. Now I am in charge of some stuff and am really having to face up to what it means if *I* am carrying the big stick ... fabulous if I am responsive and responsible, but what if the people who come after me aren't? Unions are a reasonable instinctual answer to that. Right now we are doing what we can to build a workplace that feels safe enough for employees that they won't feel a need to unionize. There is not a perfect answer, and the minute anyone comes to the table with anything except goodwill everyone is screwed. : P.

That's why I like (non-government) right-to-work laws. If unions are an OPTION, but they don't have power to MAKE anyone give them money, or stay in for more than one year, they can work as a balance.
When they first got big, the abuses they were countering were bigger than the abuses they were committing. (Which is saying something.)