Maybe we should have headlined this “Schadenfreude Alert!” In any case, if you’re inclined to believe unionization of faculty and staff has damaged the quality of education in American schools for over a half-century, you’ll be deriving some serious enjoyment from the misfortunes of others this past week.
In Madison, a federal judge dismissed a 2011 lawsuit by two Dane County unions seeking to overturn the Act 10 collective bargaining reforms. Judge William Conley ruled that the changes enacted by Governor Walker and the Republican Legislature do not interfere with union members’ rights of free speech and association, which the unions evidently interpreted as including a right to have everything they want.
But a lawsuit wasn’t the only thing that got dismissed last week.
Teachers in the Kenosha Unified School District, the state’s third largest, dismissed their union.
One of the Act 10 reforms is a requirement that local public employee unions be re-certified as the collective bargaining agents for their members, by majority vote of the membership each year. People familiar with the details of Kenosha’s re-certification election say the union not only failed to win a majority of the votes; it failed to attract as many as 40 percent.
Smaller unions have decertified as long ago as 2011, but given the size of the Kenosha school district and the area’s long tradition of both private- and public-sector union membership, this is not to be ignored.
That is, unless you’re statewide teacher union spokeswoman Christina Brey, who offered a hilarious explanation that seems to say the disintegration of its membership in no way indicates her organization has a problem.
Still, things could be worse. Mexico could have used a Scott Walker long ago, before teacher unions forsook litigation for fighting in the streets.