by Kyle Olson
As state governments continue to grapple with labor and legacy costs, we’ve seen government employee unions respond with massive rallies and publicity stunts. Some union bigs have even threatened to turn their job into a “weapon.”
Case in point, of course, is Madison, Wisconsin. Thousands of union protesters from around the country converged on the state capitol in an effort to intimidate and stop Gov. Scott Walker and his allies from passing a bill that would not only balance the state budget, but allow schools and municipalities to dramatically cut labor costs.
Unionized teachers have been at the head of the line to complain loudly that the public is “ungrateful” for their work. They speak of being “demoralized” and “undervalued.” Poor souls. If the private sector has it so good, go join it and see for yourself.
But we’ve heard very little from police officers and firefighters – large groups of very important public servants.
I have the utmost respect for these individuals. Unlike unionized public school teachers, they risk their lives every day in order to protect society from thugs and danger and don’t bellyache about it.
According to PoliceOfficerSalary.com, cops make an average of $51,410 annually. In Michigan, a fairly typical, if not depressed state, teachers make an average of $52,300. Cops work year-round. Teachers are contracted to work typically about 185 days a year. So cops make less, work more, and risk their lives every day. Where are their complaints?
Teachers unions lately have been employing publicity stunts, such as grading papers in mall food courts. This has been reported in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Jersey and a few other states. Like misbehaving puppies, we have to have our noses rubbed in what teachers are doing.
Why don’t we hear of cops pulling similar stunts? I bet if they decided to clean their guns in the mall food court, media would descend from far and wide to tell the cops’ story. But they don’t do that. No, they go about their business, risking their lives, just grateful to have jobs.
We hear of stories where teachers, apparently satisfied with the pathetic state of public education, are passing resolutions in support of cop killers, namely Mumia Abu-Jamal. In that situation, the police officers’ group fired back, asking American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten to distance herself from the ridiculous California resolution. Weingarten hasn’t gotten around to doing that.
Teachers need to get real and understand the reason the public is fed up is because our schools are leaving taxpayers broke and far too many students illiterate and unprepared for life.
And a little gratitude towards taxpayers wouldn’t hurt either.