The hereditary union serfdom of Pennsylvanian teachers.


‘Hereditary’ is not quite the right term – but it comes close, as this report by the Commonwealth Foundation makes clear: “…a closer look at how unions run their own organization reveals a stunning lack of accountability by union leadership toward union members. For example, in Pennsylvania, fewer than 1 percent of public school teachers voted for the union representing them. In nearly every case, the original election authorizing a particular union, usually the Pennsylvania State Education Association or the American Federation of Teachers-Pennsylvania, took place some 40 years ago.” What happens here is simple: the Left has done its level best to make the system one-way.  Once a district does unionize, then there’s no mechanism later to revisit the issue.  And thus we end up with a situation where one percent of current Pennsylvania teachers have ever voted to join the teachers union.

Does it make a difference, though? Well, let’s take a look at Wisconsin.  In 2011 Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled Wisconsin legislature passed comprehensive public sector union reform (colloquially known as ‘Act 10,’ although the law has many profane nicknames). One of the key elements of that law – the one that the Left fought tooth and nail, right down to the bitter end – was the ending of forced union membership for public employees.  Since ACT 10 passed, general public sector union membership in Wisconsin dropped 18% by 2014 – and the two major teachers unions’ membership dropped by a third and in half, respectively.

…Wisconsin is not impossibly different from Pennsylvania. At any rate, even if you don’t think that unions are inherently bad (note: my late father was a blue-collar union local president) all reasonable people can at least agree that forcing workers to participate in unions is not a morally good act. If the union is that excellent, it will have no trouble keeping its membership. If it is not… well, negative feedback is a wonderful thing.

Image via Shutterstock.

Moe Lane

PS: The Pennsylvanian legislature has a bill in the works that would emulate Wisconsin’s reforms.  You should, however, fully expect it to be vetoed by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, assuming that he can find someone in his staff who can get it to him before getting indicted on corruption charges.  Because that’s what Democratic governors do: they place special interests before the needs of kids.  On the bright side, the Supreme Court may very well decide to end forced unionization dues nationwide.  Which would be lovely, really.  Not least because the screaming from that decision would probably be audible from low Earth orbit…