Public School Teachers Strike For 3rd Day

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Families suffer for a third day as well-paid government employees demand higher benefits.

Teachers in West Virginia continued their illegal work stoppage to rally for higher salaries, complaining that the rise in health care costs thanks to the complications of Obamacare should be covered by the government.

This is the second time teachers in the state have gone on strike. In 1990, an 11 day strike resulted in the teachers getting a higher salary. Clearly they’re looking for the same outcome here. And clearly they’ll get it.

Status Report

Right now, according to the National Education Association, teachers in West Virginia are among the lowest paid public school teachers in the country… but they’re bringing home over $45,000 on average.

One art teacher said at a recent rally:

“Our teachers and our public employees are getting less in pay per year every year, and people are fed up and fired up about it.”

…is $45,000 per year and three months off every summer, along with Christmas and Easter really that bad?

Pay For My Healthcare

President of the American Federation of Teachers in West Virginia, Christine Campbell said that the real issue is that the teachers want more government money to pay for their government health insurance costs:

“We have to see a real strong commitment. We’re asking to move us in the right direction, and to take care of our health insurance at a level that we can see our checks go up, not have them go down.”

How Many Students, How Many Teachers?

There are almost 20,000 teachers involved in the strike along with more than 250,000 students staying home. Good luck to the high school seniors who are in the middle of applying to college.

Here’s a tip: Don’t go to college. Apply to the best colleges you can find. When a great college accepts you, use that acceptance letter as your resume. If you get accepted to MIT or Harvard, the acceptance letter itself will often be enough for an employer who’s willing to train you.

Let’s Do The Rough Math: How Many Families Must Find Childcare?

There are 250,000 children affected.

In the United States, the reproduction rate is approximately 2 babies for every woman, so let’s assume that families in West Virginia have on average just over two children.

Let’s assume that every two children represent one family. So, there are 125,000 families affected.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one third of all American families have one stay-at-home parent. So there are probably 42,000 families who already have a child minder at home, leaving 83,000 families with kids at home with no parent.

Let’s assume that only one third of that group needs to have an adult stay at home, factoring in for the age of the kids and older siblings who can mind younger ones.

By my rough math, that leaves around 28,000 families where both parents work during the day who are scrambling to find child care for their kids who are too young to stay at home by themselves.

 

Work Stoppage: Actually Illegal

The State Attorney General has come out to say that while this is an illegal work stoppage and that he will help the local authorities “enforce the rule of law,” he supports the teachers in their “cries for higher salaries.”

Teachers Don’t Understand the Private Sector

To become a teacher, you spend 13 years in elementary, middle and high school. Then, you go to college for a four year degree, and depending on your location you either start teaching with that qualification or you take a shorter degree specifically qualifying you as a teacher.

Then, it’s back to the school… again. Forever.

I’ve always felt it’s backwards that teachers and professors are one long cycle of receiving education from the same source that you will later feed into. Generally, public school teachers have no real-life experience beyond summer jobs and college.

So I find that teachers generally have no idea about the salary expectations in “the real world.” They think all lawyers are making $200,000, and that business owners in the trades are living in half-million dollar homes. They think that they’re the only ones buying their own materials for work, and that they’re the only ones who have to bring work home on weekends. I might be a lowly writer for politicians, but I’ve had 3am conference calls because we needed to formulate a response before 7am. That’s just how the real world works.

Their social circle is limited mostly to other teachers and to students. They really, honestly do believe that they’re getting the short end of the stick because they’re so cloistered.

What’s the point of a Government Union?

Here’s the thing. Unions were first brought in when there weren’t enough legal protections for workers at a time when working on a large scale for someone else was still new.

There’s still an argument for unions for skilled trades, but unions are supposed to be a way to protect “the worker” from “the government.” So how do government unions work, when “the worker” is a PART of the government? It ends up being the government against itself, but the taxpayer is the one who fields the costs.

Frankly, modern unions still operate as if all business owners were Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, shown in this clip reminiscing about firing a worker who says:

“You can’t treat the workingman this way! One day, we’ll form a union and get the fair and equitable treatment we deserve. Then we’ll go too far and get corrupt and shiftless and the Japanese will eat us alive!”

Unions Only Ever Support Democrats

Here is a short list of donations made by unions to Democrats and Republican groups during the 2016 Election cycle:

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Democratic: $39,200,987
Republican: $2,100

American Federation of Teachers:
Democratic: $33,585,880
Republican: $10,700

Laborers Union
Democratic: $28,396,664
Republican: $474,925

Carpenters & Joiners Union
Democratic: $26,791,282
Republican: $448,927

American Federation of State/Cnty/Munic Employees
Democratic: $15,615,994
Republican: $7,475

Operating Engineers Union
Democratic:  $10,669,428
Republican: $813,327

Plumbers/Pipefitters Union
Democratic: $10,580,528
Republican: $285,900

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers:
Democratic: $10,261,138
Republican: $193,732

Even with Trump leading the charge on a major infrastructure boom that requires educated, skilled people, these unions won’t give one red cent to the Republicans to help them spread the message that a conservative in office means good jobs.

Sources: OpenSecrets, CBS, Gallup

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