Thursday, April 8, 2010

Are Union Mines Safer?

This was the question asked on NPR's Diane Rehm show Weds. night in the light of the West Virginia mine accident, a non-union mine by the way with massive safety violations. The response was that union miners are extremely outspoken if they see safety problems while workers in non-union mines fear raising complaints. "You can't imagine how many anonymous calls I get from people in non-union mines who are afraid," said a guest. The protection the union affords miners automatically creates an environment where owners can't get away with violations as easily.

Which reminds me of tenure. Are school districts with tenure educationally safer environments for children because teachers can speak out more freely when an idiot principal or superintendent comes up with a stupid idea? What about the union in this case, you ask? Why do you need tenure if you have a union? Have you checked out conditions in the schools lately? Do UFT teachers dare complain when they don't have tenure? I can't tell you how many teachers say they are waiting for tenure before speaking out. And even then most of these people don't speak out anyway. Hmmm. Is the United Mine Workers looking to organize teachers?

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