5/31/08

Anti-strike resolution going nowhere

Editorial writer whistles in the wind

The District 158 School Board wants the state to prohibit teachers from going on strike. Board members this week sent a resolution to the Illinois Association of School Boards, asking the organization to strengthen its stance against teacher strikes and lobby to change state law on the matter.

We wholeheartedly support the resolution, and encourage all other school districts in the area to adopt similar resolutions.

District 158 is in the middle of negotiations with its teachers union on a new contract, which expires June 30. District officials say the resolution is unrelated to the contract negotiations, but that’s beside the point.

On this page in recent years, we have urged our legislators to change state law. Teachers should be treated the same as firefighters and police officers, who are barred from striking. Firefighters and police officers must solve their contract disputes through arbitration, not strikes.

With the ability to strike, teachers have all the leverage. School officials have none. Parents want – need, in many instances – their children in school. During drawn-out strikes, parental pressure often forces school boards to make too many concessions to teacher unions just to get students back in school.

District 2 officials put up a pretty good fight last fall when the Richmond/Spring Grove Education Association went on strike during a contract dispute. District 2 boldly considered hiring replacement teachers. Ultimately, though, the district settled with the union after gaining a few, though relatively small, concessions from teachers.

According to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Illinois is one of nine states that explicitly permit teacher strikes through legislation. Ten states are neutral, and 31 states put restrictions on or ban teachers from striking.

It is long since time to put Illinois in the category with the majority of states, restricting or banning teacher strikes.

We prefer the ban. That would be one step in the long, difficult road to reforming education spending.

(nwherald.com)

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