Anti-union October 5, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
If you want a vision of the future, and why it is absolutely imperative to divert from that path, look no further than this report from Slate.com on charter schools in the US and how they treat efforts by teachers to unionise. Indeed consider just how abysmal workers rights are in the US as described in the following paragraph.
…speaking up can feel risky for nonunionized charter teachers. Indeed, one of the animating impulses behind the push for more charter schools and the broader school-reform movement has been an antipathy toward some of the entrenched institutions of public education—like teachers unions and the teacher protections they champion, which many charter advocates often see as an impediment to accountability and student achievement. Unlike their counterparts in traditional public schools, charter teachers work for private companies or nonprofits, which typically hire them on annual contracts and are legally allowed to fire them without cause or a formal grievance process.
There is a description of how one union member seeking to unionise colleagues by handing out leaflets ‘near the parking lot of a school building’ was…
…faced [by] the sheriff. Even though she was not violating any laws, he told her that the head of her school wanted her to leave the premises. Mernick told him she “had a protected right” to be there. And she was clear that her employer, Alliance, which had already been slapped with a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order for interfering with union organizing, “knows I’m allowed to be doing this.”
…that didn’t end the encounter, during which Mernick and the other organizer were threatened with the possibility of arrest for trespassing. Finally, after about 45 minutes, the head of the school emerged to tell them they could continue leafleting until 9 a.m., when the professional development for new teachers was set to start. (Teachers and organizers are allowed to talk to employees on campus during nonworking hours but are barred from doing so on company time.) The experience left Mernick shaken. In using law enforcement to try to intimidate her, her boss had turned Mernick’s outreach into a public example of what interested teachers might face if they joined the fight.
I’ve faced problems unionising workplaces, but never had the police called. And never had the sense that I was in a context where that could ever be a realistic outcome. Small wonder that only 7% of US charter schools are unionised.
Telling too the detail about how charter schools attempt to ‘reach’ students with anti-union messages.
As always the power imbalance between employer(s) and workers is manifest. One can only applaud the teacher mentioned in the piece above:
Though Mernick is still shook up by her encounter with the sheriff, she says she’ll keep pushing. “I will be in this as long as it takes.”