BLOG: The Unions Just Can’t Help Themselves

January 3, 2022

 

We’re hearing from across the country that teacher union leaders are again calling to close schools and keep them closed, this time because of the Omicron variant. Once again, they are casually recommending that we further harm our children. 

There’s a pattern here. 

In 2020, in districts where these labor leaders are most powerful, they wouldn’t allow teachers to return to the classroom until Congress gave them more than $500 billion to “make things safe.” 

Early in 2021, after three rounds of “emergency” COVID relief (only a fraction of which has actually been spent), they began emphasizing the need for their members to be put at the front of the vaccination lists before they’d allow teachers to return to schools. 

Now, early in 2022, they demand testing and harsh triggers for quarantining before they’ll let teachers return to the classroom. We suspect they’re also quietly bargaining for more control over school districts and more dues-paying members at the same time. 

These labor leaders are adept at hiding their ulterior motives behind proclaimed concerns for children and classroom teachers. As our first Teacher Union Accountability Project report showed, they are happy to exploit a national emergency for their own political purposes.
 
Never mind our needy students are harmed every day they miss school. The union-driven closures have already caused enormous hurt to children—sociallyemotionallyphysically, and academically. Union bosses don’t seem to care. 

Never mind that most classroom teachers—their own dues paying members—also prefer to be back in the classroom. They were never trained to do excellent remote instruction, and they are sincerely concerned about their students. 

We applaud U.S. Education Secretary Cardona for calling on school districts to do everything possible to keep children in school. Like Betsy DeVos before him, he knows that it’s possible to keep students and teachers safe—if only union leaders were willing to cooperate.
 
But the union leaders can’t help themselves. They will wring every possible concession out of their school boards and superintendents before they give an inch. It’s time for Secretary Cardona and others to demand that the union bosses stand down and put students’ interests first. 

Jim Blew
Co-founder, Defense of Freedom Institute