I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Have it Your Way?

In the late 70s and early 80s, Burger King’s trademark slogan was “Have it Your Way”.  I can even hear the melody of  the song in my head~~”have it your, way, at burger king, have it your way”  It was catchy…
If Unions around the country could “have it their way”, would their dream scenario be something like the Michigan “Protect our Jobs” 2012 Ballot Amendment?
Yesterday’s evening edition of the WSJ ONLLINE had an illuminating story about this ballot measure in Michigan that will give tremendous expanded powers to unions, public and private, to challenge and invalidate any current or existing law that is inconsistent with the unions’ collective bargaining agreements.  Outsourcing to save taxpayer dollars on non-educational functions?—potentially eliminated under this law if passed.  School Choice?  Eliminated if the Michigan State Education Association is successful in getting this law passed. 
The article should be a wake-up call to Michigan voters, as well as taxpayers and others interested in labor issues nationwide.  Everyone  should pay attention to this, particularly those in public policy-making.  If it can happen in Michigan, it can happen elsewhere!
From the article:
“The amendment says that no "existing or future laws shall abridge, impair or limit" the collective-bargaining rights of Michigan workers. That may sound innocuous, but according to Patrick Wright of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the amendment would hand a broad mandate to unions to challenge virtually any law they don't like. Mr. Wright says that passage would almost certainly mean the end of Michigan's Public Act 112, which made the privatization of schools' food, busing and custodial services off-limits in collective-bargaining negotiations. More than 60% of Michigan school districts have privatized these services over the past two decades, resulting in annual savings of about $300 million……Even if unions didn't prevail in court in every instance, notes Mr. Wright, the sweeping scope of the initiative would allow them to mount endless challenges to local governments' personnel and pay decisions, making it prohibitively expensive to risk crossing union wishes.Thanks to media leaks, we know that already the Michigan Education Association has drawn up an internal wish list of all the laws it will challenge if the initiative passes. The targets include a cap on the health-care benefits of teachers, and reforms to teacher tenure that recently enabled schools to promote teachers based on merit rather than seniority alone. But what's really exciting the teachers union is the prospect of killing "interdistrict or intradistrict open enrollment opportunities"—which would otherwise promote some competition in education by letting parents vote with their feet and send their kids to better schools. The Michigan amendment could also mean the blocking of future laws challenging union privileges.”

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