Thingish Things

Is This Stealing?

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Feb• 27•11

The New York Post today reports that 1,500 city teachers are paid to work on union business while on the job, forcing the city to hire additional teachers to take their place in the classroom.  On top of that, these loyal  “union reps” are given a healthy stipend from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), in some cases exceeding $50,000.  A Manhattan English teacher identified in the story pulls down more than $150,000 a year — $100,000-plus from taxpayers and $50,000-plus from the taxpayer-funded union. Nice haul for a 9-5 job.

This union-payoff scheme – yes, it’s in their contract – costs city taxpayers an extra $9 million per year, the Post reports, enough to hire 198 new teachers.  It is the latest in a seemingly endless series of revelations about union sweetheart deals around the country, like the one in Buffalo, NY that guarantees free annual cosmetic surgery to teachers.  (That cost Buffalo taxpayers an extra $9 million in 2009.)

You can’t blame the teachers.  And you can’t blame their union representatives for advocating for all this ridiculous largesse.  It’s what they are paid to do.  It’s the elected officials owned by the unions who are at fault – including the 14 Wisconsin senators  hiding out in Illinois.

But we can fix the system that perpetuates the problem with the right political will, indeed, we must if we want to prevent states from going bankrupt.  That is what Governor Scott Walker is trying to do in prohibiting collective bargaining on benefits in the Badger State – just as President Carter banned it for federal employees in 1978 with his Civil Service Reform Act.  Bargain all you want on salaries – those are predictable and transparent costs – but not on the sweetheart deals.  All this wink-wink union love is killing us.





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