As reported in today’s The New York Times Union Setback Looms in Case Before Justices, the Supreme Court seems poised to deliver a severe blow to organized labor in a case brought by 10 California teachers.
The expected ruling will almost certainly hurt the ability of teachers unions to effectively bargain collectively. For unions and their supporters, the larger threat is that ” a decision in the plaintiffs’ favor would encourage many workers who are perfectly happy with the work of their unions to make the economically rational decision to opt out of paying for it.” That is, the California plaintiffs are seeking to reap the benefits of collective bargaining without paying their fair share of the cost.
Weakened teacher unions do not bode well for schools in Rochester and Monroe County.
In March 2014, in response to a D & C Letter-to-the-Editor, I wrote (for the D & C Make City Schools Better blog) If unions are the problem, why do we have so many high performing schools in Monroe County?
There I drew a corollary between Monroe County’s nationally ranked schools and the strength of the New York State Union of Teachers. The essay argued that “effective unions like the NYSUT have helped attract quality teachers who, year in and year out, are creating quality schools.” By extension, difficulties faced by the RCSD are not union problems. Its teachers are in the same NYSUT — which helps create those nationally ranked Monroe County schools.
We don’t know yet know how the Supreme Court will rule–broadly or narrowly–or what will be the ramifications. If the consequences are weakened teacher unions, as seems inevitable, schools and students will suffer.
What was true in 2014 about Monroe County public schools and the NYSUT is still true in 2016.