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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Monday, February 22, 2010

And while I'm on the subject

by folkbum

This post by mpeterson reminds me of another absurdity in Bruce Thompson's op-ed yesterday. He writes,
[T]he emergence of powerful teachers unions changed the dynamics. If the unions were unable to get what they wanted at the bargaining table, they could work to elect school board members who were dependent on union support. Low turnout in school board elections, combined with the lack of overall interest in the School Board, meant that the unions were the only consistent players in School Board elections. [. . . A]t times, it felt as though the union was negotiating with itself: not getting what it wanted at the negotiating table, the union would go directly to who would override the negotiators.
Thompson is living in the past. The Milwaukee Board of School Directors hasn't had a majority of union-supported members for five years, since Danny Goldberg--now gone from the board, even--was elected. Even before that, the "majority" was not terribly strong, and in fact for much of Thompson's first tenure on the Board, the union lacked that majority.

At the present moment, as Thompson is writing his screed against "special interests" in Board elections, there are two, out of nine, members of the board who were supported by the union in their last contested elections. (A third, Larry Miller, was supported by the union but ran unopposed in, ironically enough, Bruce Thompson's old east-side district.) That makes six of nine members that the union actively opposed.

So at best, if you want to grant the union all kinds of unbridled power that it really doesn't have, the union has three puppets on the Board out of a possible nine. If Thompson and his five presumably anti-union cohorts on the Board find themselves unable to overpower the three union cronies, well, he should maybe consider what that looks like before he goes whining on the pages of the daily paper.

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