Re: “Neither side wanted a teacher strike (letter, 9-20).
In recent years there have been several teacher strikes, not just in Tacoma but in the South Sound area. Neither side wanted these strikes, yet somehow they happened. The reasons are always varied – smaller class size, teacher evaluation systems, etc. However, these strikes had one thing in common: One side voted to go on strike!
Rather than staying at the table, one side determined that going on strike was in their best interest, the best way to achieve their goals.
Teacher strikers usually claim that they are doing it for the students. It sounds good, but the students never seem to have a say in the matter. What these strikes are almost always about is one side imposing its will on the other by refusing to work until those demands are met. They are about salaries, who pays how much for health care and other benefits. These benefits always seem to benefit the strikers, never the students.
Strikes by these public employee unions are illegal. However, this doesn’t seem to prevent these strikes. There is no reason why this law should deter teacher strikes. Can anyone remember when a teacher’s union or any of its members have been held accountable for an illegal strike?
The real question probably should be: Why not strike when we have nothing to lose and everything to gain? Sounds like a sweet deal to me.