Without the prospect of layoffs, teacher unions have little reason to ratchet down their excessive demands.
We have seen this superciliousness demonstrated in recent teachers contract negotiations in Bucks County. Despite high unemployment and a lousy economy, the union continues to demand automatic pay hikes and little or no increase in health insurance premiums that are a fraction of what private sector workers pay. Incredibly, some school boards have caved in to the union without putting up much of a fight. In too many cases, contract negotiations are give and take - the school board gives and the union takes.
Pennsylvania law unfairly tilts the balance in favor of teachers. They can strike repeatedly with little or no loss of wages and cannot be laid off unless there is a decline in enrollment or a change in educational programs.
There is no reason why school boards on this side of the river shouldn't have the same tools to manage their districts. The teachers unions certainly are not shy about using the threat of a strike to get what they want. What taxpayers want and need is for teacher unions to accept reality. If the rest of us are having a bad year or two, then teachers should have to suffer a little too.
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