Today: Apr 14, 2024

Union strikes fight for fairness

Savannah Mul – Opinions Editor

Imagine if the teachers went on strike within the first few weeks of school in your hometown. In Chicago, the nation’s third-largest school district, teachers are doing just that, reports the Christian Science Monitor. The teacher’s union strike has been going on since Monday, Sept. 10 and is still experiencing turbulence with unsettled contracts.

The Chicago teachers and fellow support staff are on strike for the first time since 1987, reports The Washington Post. The disagreement has been between union teachers, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and the Board of Education, which didn’t reach an agreement over the teachers’ contract.

Photo Courtesy |
Teachers that rallied at the strike that occured last week in Chicago, Ill.

The teachers’ union seem to be standing their grounds and not backing down to the bully – who reported from the Chicago Tribune – is Mayor Emanuel, as the teachers shout, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Rahm Emanuel has got to go.” Emanuel wants to take the union to court, because, as the Christian Science Monitor reports, the state law bars teachers from striking on anything except pay and benefits.

These causes are included in their strike along with teacher evaluations, class size and job security. The union teachers aren’t seeing the justice and agreeing to the teacher evaluation program.

But Chicago isn’t the only school system on strike within the nation; more locally New Haven school bus drivers walked off the job on Sept 13 from failed agreements within their contract with First Student Inc., reports the New Haven Register.

However, the next day the bus drivers returned to their positions. As from the night before, deliberations were made between The First Student Inc. and union leaders for the drivers to return to their normal bus routes on Friday. If more meetings and arrangements are not settled by next week with the New Haven Bus company, the union leader spokesperson, Ben Phillips said, “Strike options are still on the table,” reports the New Haven Register.

Going on strike is a dangerous plot; there’s no promise of when it will end or even if a change will come out of it. In the case of the Chicago teachers’ Union and their strike as of Sept 14, it looks as if the problems will be resolved very soon, perhaps even by next week. The teachers all hope to gain fair treatment and a fair union contract, to which they definitely deserve.

In 2008 my father was on strike within his company. It went on for a handful of months and finally resolved itself. Unfortunately the contract didn’t get any better. In the long run, my father and his co-workers saw that the strike didn’t help as they had thought.

Are unions even as beneficial as they are made out to be? Teachers as well as other union members have to stick up for their rights and demand fair representation from their counterparts. Unions guarantee workers to have better wages, to gain benefits after certain amount of time, and are supposed to leave workers with having a voice in their work community. Maybe for some places I hope this to be true, I can’t say if it is or not. It certainly seems unions create more trouble than they’re worth. If unions were for the people and their voices, why have the Chicago teachers been on strike all week?

Being a part-time worker and union member at a grocery store, there’s nothing they do for me except take $7.93 out of my weekly paycheck to pay union dues.  I hope for the full-time workers within my workplace, the union does more for them and answers their needs when there’s a problem. But I haven’t seen it.

For the existence of unions to continue, there has to be more representation and fairness within the community at hand, as well as the removal of state laws banning unions to what they can and cannot protest against.

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