In this March 5, 2011, file photo, people protest against legislative efforts to do away with teachers’ collective bargaining rights in Nashville, Tenn. The measure passed in Tennessee this year and ended collective bargaining for teachers unions in the state. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
In the wake of Janus v. AFSCME, many labor unions have worried about a major loss of dues revenue. In fact, the author of the majority opinion in the case, Justice Samuel Alito, recognized that the Supreme Court’s decision in the case would ultimately place a huge financial burden on public-sector unions because they specifically deal in labor issues that affect all employees in a field, not just their members.
As a result, teacher unions, in particular, have taken action. We are seeing higher rates of teacher strikes and walkouts, and we are finding that even deeply conservative states are more willing to try and offset those strikes with increased compensation for teachers (among other concessions). There is a problem, though, with teacher shortages, lack of enthusiasm about entering the field, and a substantial bureaucratic burden placed on teachers that forces them to leave rather than deal with more paperwork than instructional time.
The truth of the matter is that states should simply not be so accepting of the guarantee of strikes and so quickly capitulate to those labor forces unconditionally. Paying more without getting some sort of improvement in service is not going to make education better, as we have seen the countless times we’ve thrown money at education only to watch things continue to get worse.