J and D's Corner

From the Letters Archive

This was, I believe, the first of my letters the AV press published after I got on their 'trash can" list for many months during 2006-2007. 

This relates to the fact that I am OK with the concept of unions but not the modern-day practice thereof...

To:  AV Press

Date: 03/2007

Re:  Schools & Unions

Columnist Daniel Weintraub notes that the California teacher’s union is again tuning up to block proposed school system reforms.  Proposed reforms include extra pay for good teachers, and most especially the #1 item on every principal’s wish list, the ability to fire poor teachers. 

This echoes my own favorite wish when I worked as a manager in the highly unionized entertainment industry.  I always maintained that the most useful tool I could have been given was a “one per year rule”.  By this I meant that if I so desired I could fire one employee in any given year.  No questions asked, no justification necessary, no recourse.  Having that ability would have immediately quashed 80% of my personnel problems.  And most likely I would have only needed to use it once. 

Any union would, of course, view this with horror.  The idea that a bad worker should be treated differently from a good one is a stab deep into the heart of today’s unionism.  The unfortunate fact is that unions have evolved from being a mechanism for negotiating a “fair shake” for their membership into being primarily a protection service for the incompetent.  This is a net loss for all segments of society…except the incompetent.