By Jake Shiner and Taylor Groff –
Teacher Amy Wall is just a little worried after watching the news recently.
“I’m concerned for the future of public employees,” said Wall.
She is referring to the first term governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker who has incidentally waged war against all unions within the state, and is now feeling the pressure of a monumental decision with a tremendous impact.
Walker is attempting to weaken collective bargaining and is pressing multiple bills to achieve his and Republican’s goals. Their reasoning is the move will help to reduce the state debt but there may be an underlying political advantage at stake. Collective bargaining is what helps unions make deals, and unions have been historically known to support Democrats. Getting rid of or weakening collective bargaining would favor Republicans.
Just Friday morning the bill taking away union rights was passed in Wisconsin.
Wall is worried about this same type of thing happening in Pennsylvania.
“The governor, if he has his way, will eliminate all labor unions,” said Wall. Our governor is not pro public education he is in favor of school vouchers,” said Wall.
School vouchers give per-pupil funding to whatever school each student chooses to attend. In theory, it would take funds away from public education and give it to private schools.
“They’re taking money we need,” said Wall, “Its scary.”
Historian Joe Herman had his own thoughts on collective bargaining.
“It should be a dialogue not a dictatorship,”
Physical education teacher David Hess is not as worried.
“In Pennsylvania, I don’t think it would happen here,” said Hess.
He doesn’t believe it could happen here because of Pennsylvania’s strong union-based history. An example he gave was of Pittsburgh and steel producers. Although he has a theory for why other states like Wisconsin and Indiana would be pressing the issue.
“They’re looking to get things changed,” said Hess.
Hess noted that something similar is going on in Wisconsin and that at the Harley Davidson factory in York, Pa. a few years ago, something similar occurred. The workers accepted lower wages and layoffs and the union was impacted greatly. Once the workers were unhappy with their wages, the quality of the machines went down.
“There was less pride (in the workers),” Hess said. He says that similarly to Wisconsin, “This will not attract good teachers or employees with no unions and no benefits.”
“Do I agree with all unions?” Hess asked. “No, but I do benefit from being in the physical education field and the Pennsylvania Education Labor Union.”
All teachers at Penn Manor were asked to wear red last Tuesday to support the people of Wisconsin.
”I would hope Pennsylvania teachers are paying close attention to the unfair labor practices,” said Wall.