Have teachers unions grown from a necessary organization to ensure workplace safety and a protector of Civil Rights into power hungry and politically associations? Unions fell off the path of righteousness sometime during the last two decades. Instead of blowing the whistle on racial or gender bias the mega-money making unions now bend over backwards to protect workers who violate not only workplace policies but criminal laws.
Union Cases Past and Present
The American Federation of Teachers union was among the first of America’s trade unions to offer full membership to black workers. Through the tireless efforts of the teachers union black educators were awarded salaries equal to their white peers and were able to run for positions on local school boards.
Hundreds of teachers from New York to California were fired or punished in subtle ways after refusing to sign a “loyalty oath.” The current political climate the ongoing House of Un-American Activities Committee Congressional hearings prompted employers both public and private to require workers to declare their opposition to the Communist Party and swear to have never attended any related political meetings. Union attorneys fought the unconstitutional employment requirement on both a state and national level to prevent discrimination based upon political affiliation.
A teachers union in Brooklyn fought for the rights of a teacher who admitted to attempting to molest a sixth grade student at a public school. While the union leaders did show a little morality and agree that a pedophile should not be allowed in the classroom, the organization still did not think the teacher should lose his job. Brooklyn taxpayers had to foot the $97,101 bill for Roland Pierre to sit an office during the workday. Pierre retained his right to full benefits and retirement.
Students in Mrs. Mackrille’s kindergarten classroom lost at least one day of education when the West Haven, Conn., teacher showed up to school in a state of drunkenness. Even though the school superintendent stated Edith Mackrille had a “strong odor of alcohol” the teachers union fought for her right to retain her job, insisting she simply had a bad reaction to “lack of medication.” The teacher who stood in front of five-year-old students having a crying fight was transported to a local hospital where she refused a drug and alcohol test after being told to do so the school administration.
Tara Dodrill is a political, eco-green and travel writer. She is a real estate agent and former elected official, public school employee and coach from Ohio who has worked as a newspaper journalist, editor and photographer for magazines and online media outlets. Follow Tara on Twitter.