History lessons

In scolding Kent teachers to get back to work, the always anti-union Seattle Times argues that “Defying court order teaches the wrong lesson.” Uh-huh. Really?

Putting aside the issues of this particular strike (I haven’t paid them much attention, and don’t plan to), teachers, like nearly all workers, have a moral right to strike, even if in Washington state they may not have that legal right, and standing up for one’s rights, even in defiance of the courts, is never the wrong lesson to teach our children, especially in a nation like ours with such a strong authoritarian streak to its national character… a character quickly revealed in the first couple comments in the Times’ comment thread:

davidfelder
anderson island, WA
Why should any Kent student EVER believe another thing his/her teacher tells them?  A teacher willing to disobey a lawful order is a teacher who has no right to expect his/her students to follow the teacher’s rules. A national disgrace.

onein81
moses lake, WA
great first message. mine it to fire every single one of them. take the union leadership and lock them away in jail. am i being to hard. no. back in 1981 Patco members and union leadership were hauled off to jail in handcuffs and chains. fire each and every single one of them.

Whatever the Times editors thought they were saying, surely they must have understood that this is the kind of sentiment their headline would inspire. And while no doubt Times publisher Frank Blethen would be cheered at the thought of union members being hauled away in handcuffs, America in fact has a proud history of civil disobedience… a history lesson conveniently ignored by those who would use the power of the state to trample the rights of others.

Comments

  1. 1

    spews:

    o/~ So always question what you’re told / And ask who does it serve? / And if that someone isn’t you / Give ‘em what they deserve! ~/o

    Terrible thing, a raven trying to sing.

  2. 2

    X'ad spews:

    Fire them HELL. KILL THEM. KILL ALL THOSE LEFTY UNION COMMUNIST BASTARDS. THEY TEACH FREE SPEECH.

    oh……ooops

  3. 3

    SJ's sockpuppet spews:


    The faculty at Oakland University, Oakland University, a Michigan institution, have been told summarily that the admin. is ending tenure, hiring faculty on ad hoc contracts, changing the curriculum, etc.

    So … the faculty have gone on strike and a the Oakland U. administration has asked a judge to order striking professors “Back to Work.”

    I wonder …

    if the judge does make such a ruling, just how will she or the admin monitor the reluctant professors’ work?

    Some intriguing examples:

    Theology 101 just what is free will?

    History of Labor 232 labor unions exist because ….

    Drama 222 to display anger, you need to feel it …

    Creative writing 342 write an essay on the ability of administrators to grade your essays

    Art 245 can one enforce creativity in an art class?

    Conversational German 134 Compare uses of state power under Hitler to forced labor by intellectuals

    of course, one could just determine if the professors are adhering to the administrator’s lesson plan.

    Oh,oh … how would you evaluate grading?

  4. 4

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    civil disobedience

     
    Are the teachers striking to ensure women can vote?
    Are the teachers striking to ensure human rights?
    Are the teachers striking for the betterment of the students?
     
    Or are they striking because they are greedy and want more money and benefits?
     
    Hhmm, they’re starting to sound very republican when you look at it that way. Maybe greed is universal.

  5. 5

    Empty Suit Obama spews:

    America in fact has a proud history of civil disobedience…

    Um, no dumbass. We in this nation have agreed that we are a nation of laws. The teacher’s have decided they are above the law in Washington state telling their students that they do not have to abide by it. They are under obligation to fulfill their contract with the state. That includes going with their current contract for another year.

    This sends a terrible message to children:
    Fuck the stop signs, there are no cars at the itnersection with me.
    Fuck the stop lights. I have the right of way because I’m a better driver.
    Fuck the speed limit, I can drive 15-20 years over because I’m a good driver.

    Only a complete, ill educated retard could think this is a positive message to the impressionable school students. Why am I not surprised Goldy would err on the side of law breaking?

  6. 6

    Right Stuff spews:

    What’s curious to me is that there is a “no strike” clause in their current contract.
    Nice.

    Also, teachers have no skin in the game…Unlike the Boeing machinists etc, teachers don’t lose $.01 of pay..The state mandates (x) number of school days a year, and teachers get paid for teaching (x) number of days…They never lose anything or have any hardship to strike….Only parents and students suffer for the strike, which IMO is shameful on the all parties, especially the teachers.

  7. 7

    crinkled paper bag spews:

    they’re striking in no small part over the number of staff meetings held every month. hardly a matter, imho, worthy of denying 26000 kids their education and inconveniencing the worker parents of those kids.

  8. 8

    Piper Scott spews:

    I have a moral right to take everything Goldy has – bugger the laws against theft.

    The Piper

  9. 9

    Michael spews:

    fire every single one of them

    You can fire them. Being on strike means the teachers declined to sign their yearly contract. I ‘spose the school district could, however, refuse to hire them.

  10. 10

    Michael spews:

    @6

    They never lose anything or have any hardship to strike

    That’s your opinion and completely besides the point. Teachers strike for the same reason that every other group does: because every other form of bargaining has failed.

    Are the Kent teachers in the right? I haven’t a clue. Should the state have the power to force a contract-less contract employee to perform work? Probably not.

  11. 11

    Michael spews:

    #5 Has never heard of the suffragette movement, the labor movement, the civil right movement, Henry David Thoreau…

  12. 12

    Michael spews:

    @9

    That should read: they can’t fire them. I blame the public school system I was educated in for my typo.

  13. 13

    DavidD spews:

    Isn’t Kent the city with some of the highest paid administrators in the country? Why not dock those salaries to the national average and then use the taxpayer money saved to buy supplies for the classrooms?

  14. 14

    Blue John spews:

    4. Marvin Stamn spews:

    Or are they striking because they are greedy and want more money and benefits?

    Then Marvin, you should have no problem at all with what they are doing. It’s just capitalism at work, and pesky things like laws, rules and regulation, they get in the way of making as much money as possible.

  15. 15

    Empty Suit Obama spews:

    11. Michael spews:

    #5 Has never heard of the suffragette movement, the labor movement, the civil right movement, Henry David Thoreau…

    I’ve certainly heard of them, but any imbecile that would compare them with the Kent teachers not honoring their contract is too ignorant to take seriously.

    Fine the idiots until they either quit outright or get back to doing the job they’ve been assigned to do.

  16. 17

    Empty Suit Obama spews:

    From roadkills link @ 16

    Their reward: a pair of handcuffs and a strip search at the county jail.

    Sounds like a saturday night in at the Roger Rabbit household …

  17. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5, 6 — Actually, I sort of agree with you retards on this issue. Teachers don’t lose pay by going on strike, and defy court orders without consequences. For decades, the Legislature punished state employees who dudn’t strike by taking money from them and giving it to teachers as a reward for striking. This year, Kent’s teachers are striking for higher pay at a time when state and municipal workers face layoffs, pay freezes, and involuntary furloughs.

    Oh yes, I know the Kent teachers say class size is the key issue. But let’s put that in perspective. They’ve reached a tentative agreement on a 3% pay raise that will cost the district $8.5 million, and meeting their demands on class size reductions would cost $2.7 million, according to the newspaper-of-record. Which means they could get smaller classes and still get 2/3rds of the pay raise. But no, they’d rather defy a court order than accept a deal like that.

  18. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 If you do, then I have an equal right to take it from you, and give it back to Goldy.

  19. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 Well, if you take the view they’re not employees, then I’d agree with you. We don’t have involuntary servitude in this country. But in that case, the school district doesn’t have to hire them, does it?

  20. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 Sue them to get your parents’ school taxes back! Your lawyer needs the work.

  21. 23

    Michael spews:

    @15

    Here’s Goldy’s comment and your reply to it:

    America in fact has a proud history of civil disobedience…
    Um, no dumbass. We in this nation have agreed that we are a nation of laws.

    You were refuting the idea that “America has a proud history of civil disobedience.” By stating, “Um, no dumbass. We in this nation have agreed that we are a nation of laws.” In supporting Goldy’s thesis by showing critical parts of American history THAT USED CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE I was in no way comparing the the Kent teachers to those parts our history. I was showing that we do, in fact, have a proud history of civil disobedience…

  22. 24

    Mathew "RennDawg" Renner spews:

    Hey Kent Teachers, Summer Vacation is over. You do not need a longer one. Get back to work. Stop the lazyness.

  23. 25

    proudtobeanass spews:

    @5: “Um, no dumbass. We in this nation have agreed that we are a nation of laws.”

    Unless, of course, when it comes to war criminals such as Nixon, Kissinger, Bush, Cheney, et al. Then suddenly the tune changes, and enforcing the law would be an embarassment or a political pain in the ass.

    If Kent teachers want to walk out, they can. Unlike our cowardly politicians, if arrested, and convicted, they will do the time. Insofar as they are breaking the law, they are apparently willing to pay the price. This is the essence of civil disobedience.

    If the District has the will, it can find new teachers. It is a battle of wills…..not legalisms.

    As one noted author asked, “Whose side are you on?”

  24. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Civil disobedience is an interesting subject, and an intellectually challenging one, and therefore over the heads of our idiot trolls.

    Rosa Parks broke the law and went to jail, yet there are unjust laws, and sometimes social progress depends on breaking them.

    Teacher strikes, though, aren’t about social progress or defying unjust laws. To the extent they are pay disputes, they’re simply about money. But teachers often couple pay demands with issues like class size, preparation time, and other issues that implicate the quality of education delivered to students. Teachers also demand a say in school management and policies that perhaps exceeds that of employees in any other business or occupation. In many teacher strikes, several or all of these things may be at stake.

    Teachers often complain they’re not able to teach. But they’re simply in the same boat as everyone else. No one has enough resources, no one is paid enough, and we all have to work under less than ideal conditions, for example, an emergency room trying to serve too many patients with not enough doctors, nurses, and staff. You play the hand you’re dealt, work with what you’ve got, and a true professional produces results despite impediments. The Kent School District is only its teachers to do is what everyone else has to do. And all anyone should expect of the teachers is their best effort given the circumstances.

    Fixing the things they’re complaining about — too-large classes, too many kids needed special help, etc. — are OUR responsibility. Yes, that’s right, these are RESOURCE ISSUES and it’s up to political activists like us to make sure public schools have the resources they need to address these problems. In this state, that’s largely a matter of fixing a broken tax system. As I’ve posted before on this blog, until that’s done, nothing will be possible in this state. And the first step we must take is getting a governor in office who has the backbone to tackle tax reform.

    That’s not the incumbent, Gregoire, who has avoided the subject like it was a mutant virus. That’s not good enough. Our state needs more, and when 2012 rolls around, our party should put a stronger leader in the statehouse. Some personnel changes in our party’s legislative caucus may be necessary, too, if we are ever to get a grip on the resource issues underlying teacher strikes like the one in Kent.

  25. 27

    Rujax! spews:

    So according to the wingnut asshats here the Colonials should never have rebelled against the British “cause thee British were thee prevailing lawful (so THEY said) ruling authority.

    Brilliant.

  26. 32

    Mathew "RennDawg" Renner spews:

    I think parents of Kent School district students to get together and form a co-op school. Remember it is not the goverment or the schools who are responsible for the education of children. That job is the parents. Schools are a tool to help reach that goal. So I say for get the striking teachers. Parents take control and personially see to your kids education. Work with other parents as well.

  27. 33

    brian holt spews:

    @18, RR,

    I actually think these strikes are more complicated than just pay raises. Perhaps in the past, it was merely about wages, worker rights, and working conditions, but I think in our climate today, just about any organized effort against corporatism could be considered civil disobedience.

    I can only speculate about the Kent teacher’s motivation, but as a community college instructor, I know that our COLA’s and salary increases are infrequent and paltry when considered in the context of inflation and the legislature’s penchant giving away the kitchen sink to business. Boeing has done a great job threatening to leave WA state because of the poor business environment, despite WA state being one of the top business friendly states in the nation.

    So, with the rate of teacher income becoming proportionally smaller with increased work demands, coupled to the fact that this last legislative session business got all the breaks–with not even a debate about an income tax on high income, puts this strike in the context of sending a message to our representatives in the legislature as well as congress, not just the school district. It’s not quite civil disobedience, but I think it’s closer than you give credit.

    The contract negotiations failed, yes, but I speculate that the reasons the negotiations failed, in part, has to do with this bigger battle on priorities–tax cuts for boeing and microsoft or using those same taxes to fund for better working conditions (ie. small class sizes) and fair pay for educators.

    I agree with most of wha tyou say, and if civil disobedience is about unjust laws, then I point to the fact that there is a law that says striking is illegal. That’s an unjust law because it takes power away from people.

    Last point; teachers aren’t merely employees. They are for accounting purposes, but it’s better to think of them as stewards of a common interest. So, yes, teachers do want more say in governance, but not so much as to rule the roost. A good comparison I’ve seen is that if the principle or president is the CEO, the Board of trustees are close to a judiciary, and the union/faculty are a bit like congress. They give approval or disapproval of the direction taken by the leaders.

  28. 34

    Empty Suit Obama spews:

    Unless, of course, when it comes to war criminals such as Nixon, Kissinger, Bush, Cheney, et al.

    Only a nutty leftist can bring up the non-existent “war criminals” charge on a thread about the Kent teacher’s strike. Nice to see that Bush Derangement Syndrome is alive and well on the usual blogosphere hate sites.

    Goldy in bringing up the “civil disobedience” argument is in the same breath comparing an illegal teacher strike in Kent, WA to the suffrage movement, march for civil rights, Rosa Parks, etc. It’s an asinine comparison and that is what I was referring to at 5. The kent teachers are merely serving as an example of breaking the law by ignoring a judicial directive to to return to work and carry out the jobs they were entrusted by the state to perform. If they can’t do this, they need to be fined, jailed or fired as we are a nation of laws.

    You can’t hold your breath stomp your feet and fall on the ground in a temper tantrum because the legal system didn’t side with you in a legal dispute, but that is exactly what the Kent teacher’s have done (for the short run at least). Time to grow up, kids.

  29. 35

    brian holt spews:

    I ran out of time and couldn’t edit this line:

    That’s an unjust law because it takes power away from people.

    Upon re-reading it I would say instead that it takes away our right to organize.

  30. 36

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Awww come on Brian Holt, do you realize what you are saying comparing Kent Teachers to Boeing?

    There is this web site which brags about the building near where some intelligent people live. Wait for the snide comments…

    Now let’s assume Boeing employs 30,000 people in WA State. What do tax incentives provide for Boeing? A way to compete against AirBus. What about AirBus receiving Billions in various EU and British, French, and German government subsidies? What about the recent stink on HA Libtardos regarding the Air Force tanker project? The tax breaks given to Boeing help WA State stay as vibrant as it can be in a state run by Dummocrapts.

    All you HA libtardos love to look at one thing and one thing only, compare the tax breaks to a business that employs 10s of thousands and also provides tax revenues for Everett, Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Marysville, Renton, Kent, Auburn, Tukwila, Bellevue, and other locations while dissing Boeing for providing that living and TAX BASE. Boeing is a business. Where Boeing has a plant those cities get tax revenue. Boeing also has generated support and ancillary businesses around Everett which supply contract labor and parts for use in Boeing aircraft.

    Boeing also answers to the stock holders. How many libtardos have Boeing stock in their portfolio? Do you want it to go up and pay bigger dividend or tank and leave Pelletizer and Cynical discussing their stock purchases here? For you who are so lazy in their mind regarding company stock, research what happened to Kay Whitmore when Kodak stock took a left turn downward, and he didn’t control costs. They fired his CEO ASS in 1993.

    So let’s return to Boeing… Car dealers thrive on the end of year Boeing bonuses and during the year car purchases by Boeing employees. Home builders thrive on the homes bought and upgraded by Boeing employees. Grocery stores thrive on the food bought by Boeing families. Home Depot and Lowe’s survive a lot on Boeing homeowner do-it-yourself projects and interior home upgrades. Hair dresser and nail dresser storefronts thrive on Boeing women and wives being vain. And you compare these benefits and tax breaks given to Boeing and the Kent Teacher Strike?

    So you are saying the Kent City Teachers and their school district are a useful yardstick to compare against Boeing?

  31. 37

    rhp6033 spews:

    Every time any union talks about going on strike (much less actually goes on strike), you hear the comments to the effect that it’s a terrible time to go on strike, how can they strike with so many people out of work, their company suffering, etc. Funny thing is, these excuses come out in both the best of times and the worst of times. There is NEVER a good time to strike, if you follow their way of thinking.

    Remember that union contracts are usually multi-year contracts. Passing up on a chance to get a pay increase negotiated into a contract now means that they won’t get one when times are better some two, three, or four years from now, when contracts are not up for renewal. You can be sure the company will try to press for concessions due to the bad economy in the particular year when the contract is being negotiated. But the company sure won’t offer to re-negotiate the contract upwards if the economy turns around in the middle of a contract term.

  32. 38

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    If an employee has a contract with their employer and the employer doesn’t abide by the contract, what would happen to the company?
     
    Why is it different for employees?

  33. 39

    Empty Suit Obama spews:

    37. rhp6033 spews:

    Every time any union talks about going on strike (much less actually goes on strike), you hear the comments to the effect that it’s a terrible time to go on strike, how can they strike with so many people out of work, their company suffering, etc. Funny thing is, these excuses come out in both the best of times and the worst of times. There is NEVER a good time to strike, if you follow their way of thinking.

    I think some here are conflating “public employees” with “private employees”. The two are apples and oranges in this argument because Boeing worker’s have every legal right to strike (while they kill the golden goose that lays the golden egg no less), but the same cannot be said for public employees in this state and about half of the states in the union.

    Don’t like the language of the contract you agreed to? Tough. You knew the language going in and have accepted those conditions as being an obligation of your employment.

  34. 40

    brian holt spews:

    puddy, you simplify my point. It’s not comparing boeing to kent teachers. I’m comparing workers to corporations.

    the rest of your points are related to this misunderstanding….

  35. 41

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Brian,

    Most of Puddy’s point was the WA state cities and businesses and workers benefited from Boeing’s WA State tax cut benefit and Boeing staying around.

  36. 42

    The Duke spews:

    Why are teachers even in unions? Aren’t they professionals, like Doctors and Lawyers? It seems rather tawdry that they would think of themselves as anything but professional. Yet, they want to be treated as professionals, and certainly paid as professionals. I haven’t seen my accountant out on the picket line lately… Maybe it is time for our state to have right to work laws, so that those people who want to act grown up, can simply go to work.

  37. 43

    uptown spews:

    So the school district waited until just before the school year started to get serious about negotiations, hoping the Union wouldn’t strike or could be forced to accept the contract. Why didn’t they get this done last spring?

    @42
    Most professionals have their professional organization (guild) to back them up; mainly by limiting entry into their field.

  38. 44

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @36 Why don’t we have a system where no company gets tax breaks and they all have to compete on a level playing field? Isn’t that better than the corporate socialism you espouse?

  39. 45

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @33 Well, first of all, the Kent teachers aren’t striking against a corporation, they’re striking against the public and the taxpayers. As civil disobedience goes, well, most teacher strikes aren’t in the same league as, say, the 1950s lunch counter sit-ins or Rosa Park’s refusal to move to the back of the bus. Are a living wage and decent working conditions worth fighting for? Hell yes, and I’m fully in sympathy with teachers on the lower end of the salary scale, but I happen to believe that teachers making $60,000 a year and up are adequately paid.

    Community colleges are a different animal. The lot of community college instructors is abysmal. Low pay, part-time work, lack of tenure, absence of respect — and nobody seems to care. Why anyone takes the job is a mystery. Striking doesn’t seem to help because they lack the leverage that teachers have. I almost feel their best option is changing careers.

    Now if all the state’s teachers and community college instructors and college professors walked out simultaneously and vowed not to come back until the Legislature enacted tax reform, we might get somewhere.

    What you say about public employees being “stewards” is all well and good. As a state employee I lived that credo for nearly 30 years. But the reality is my bosses didn’t consider “stewardship” to be part of my job function, and didn’t give me any pay raises, promotions, or even respect for it. With bosses like mine, stewardship was more of a career wrecker than a career objective. The problem is that human nature is the same everywhere, and selfishness looks the same in public service as it does in a greed-driven corporation.

  40. 46

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    The Kent teachers who strike should be fired, just like the PATCO guys got their asses kicked back in the early eighties.

  41. 47

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    until the Legislature enacted tax reform

    Read: institute an income tax in Washington. That’s one of the rodent’s main points, and he brings it up often.

  42. 48

    Michael spews:

    From the Seattle Times

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.c.....nt10m.html

    With the Kent teachers strike now in its 15th day, the two sides are narrowing the gap in what has been the most contentious issue: class size.

    The Kent School District has one of the highest class-size limits in the area, with a maximum of 31 students per class in grades 1-3, 34 in grades 4-6 and no limit in the higher grades.

    Sounds like something worth walking out over to me.

  43. 49

    Michael spews:

    @46

    The school district would have to hire them first. Teachers strike by REFUSING to sign a new contract.