For the past several days I have diligently kept up with the news coming out of Madison, Wisconsin regarding the bill that would reform collective bargaining and limit union's rights. It's fairly safe to say that the Capitol building is a hot bed of activity and Governor Walker has indeed started a firestorm that could potentially spread across the country to states that are experiencing similar fiscal shortcomings. Okay, fiscal disasters. Or bankruptcy if you will.
The main reason I've been so caught up in the union news is because like the teachers in Wisconsin, I am also a unionized public employee of my local school district. However, the similarity stops there. Because unlike the teachers in Wisconsin, I don't feel like I'm entitled to everything and anything. But then, I don't march to the beat of the union drum.
It wasn't my choice to become a union employee, per se. In my district, when you accept a job you have to pay union dues, period. It's kind of like the mafia, they are going to 'protect' your business and you are going to pay them a monthly fee for their service, whether you like it or not. Because if you don't, you end up with a few broken knees, or swimming with the fishes, waking up with a horse head in your bed or you just disappear.
Politically, I am not aligned with my union and I don't agree with their rhetoric and sentiment. I'd prefer merit raises versus step-increases and I think if you do a crappy job your employer should have the right to fire you. Oregon is a no-fault state (one of it's few merits, besides the mountains I live by) unless you are in a union. Then you can do a crappy job forever and continue to get your pay increase every year like clock-work. I believe in integrity, honesty and working hard for a paycheck. I don't believe I'm owed anything just because I'm in a taxpayer funded job nor is it my right to have cushy benefits and expect the state to fund my retirement.
That's why I have been so appalled while watching the events in Wisconsin unfold. I mean, exactly WHAT are these teachers doing? They say it's for the kids? Well, please explain to me how abandoning your classroom and shutting down schools is benefiting the children and their taxpaying parents that fund your salary. You say the state is taking away your rights. Your right to what? Receive less of the gravy train than you are currently receiving? Because let me tell you, if I received a quarter of the annual benefits you'll still receive under the new bill I'd consider myself in hog heaven.
I guess what's most appalling to me is what these teachers are sacrificing through their actions. By calling in 'sick' and accepting fake doctor's notes they are teaching kids it's okay to lie and deceive. They have sacrificed honesty, integrity and truth. And when you don't like what someone else believes in, do whatever is dishonorable in protest no matter what the cost. Especially when you feel it encroaches on your rights or entitlements. Because nothing should ever get in the way or be sacrificed for that. Nothing.