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Your right to choose: Crowd against anti-union bills chant 'this is our house'

10:02AM EST December 11. 2012 - LANSING, Mich. — Demonstrators massed at Michigan's Capitol before dawn as this city braced today for what is expected to be one of the largest demonstrations against right-to-work legislation.

Protesters carried signs with messages against GOP Gov. Rick Snyder such as "Snyder, veto right-to-work." Two large tents were set up on the front Capitol lawn, including one from right-to-work proponents who are expected to be greatly outnumbered.

On the third floor of the Capitol, dozens of union members circled the rail of the rotunda, shouting, "This is our house," as they waited to get into the public gallery.

"I am a kindergarten teacher," said Renee Theisen of Warren, Mich., whose school district was one of at least two in the state that closed today because teachers were taking leave to protest the legislation. "We just want our voices heard. This is important to us to belong to a union, and we want to keep it that way."

More: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/11/right-t...

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Teacher unions

""I am a kindergarten teacher," said Renee Theisen of Warren, Mich., whose school district was one of at least two in the state that closed today because teachers were taking leave to protest the legislation. "We just want our voices heard. This is important to us to belong to a union, and we want to keep it that way.""
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I am a first-year teacher, in Virginia where we are non-unionized. I often tell my friends, if I ever decide to work for the state again, please talk me out of it. I have big dreams about working in alternative education settings that encourage kids to prepare for life as engaged citizens...I think the non-profit group Citizen Schools does a great job with this. Unfortunately, I took a position with the local school district and am quickly finding myself lost in the morass of bureaucracy that hamstrings good teachers who try to get things done.

But something I was even more shocked about, two years ago when I started my student teaching, was just how many teachers couldn't care less. Now, I hate making generalizations about people, but in addition to history and government, I also teach the kids in my alternative program job-readiness skills, and one thing I always talk to my kids about is the importance of first impressions.

Teachers like this Renee Theisen always seem to make a bad first impression with me. Primarily because they remind me of every teacher I've ever met who places their own comfort ahead of the success of their students. As a new teacher, I signed a 1 school-year contract to provide my services at a specified rate of pay. I am fine with that, because I don't fear what will happen if, at the end of the year, I needed to go elsewhere, and I think that if I work hard and continue to try and innovate, I will only become better at my job and more marketable. For many teachers I have met, however, success has merely become synonymous with keeping their current position. Ms. Theisen says that the teachers want their voice to be heard...what about the children, who are truly voiceless? Children are all treated like wards of the state nowadays, and predictably, many parents take the opportunity to abdicate responsibility. So how is Ms. Theisen helping these kids? By taking a paid day off of work and refusing to provide the service she was hired for? To what end? Here is a hint, union teachers: if you want to stop being jerked around by the state, tear off your own shackles and demand change. The entire system is broken, and the cause you choose to take a highly visible stand on is almost completely self-serving. Wake up.

Good to hear from personal

Good to hear from personal experience.

The Right-to-Work opposition correct but incomplete

There should of course be no laws requring an employer to prefer non-union workers over union members in hiring or promotion. A decision to support "labor" or not should be between the employer and employee, like any other labor contract, and the government should have nothing to do with it except to protect the justly acquired property of everyone concerned.

That being said, demands to repeal "right-to-work" are woefully incomplete. If employers ought to have a right recognised to hire union members exclusively, then they also should have their right NOT to hire union members or not to recognise or "collectively bargain" with unions as well.

It cuts both ways!

Workers also have every right to join, or NOT to join, a union of their choice. In their quest for employment, they have every right to offer inducements (such as longer hours or lower wages) which I think come under a "right-to-work" as much as any union benefits that may be offered. These rights have been badly abrogated by pro-union legislation like the Davis-Bacon Act, the Norris-Laguardia Act, the Wagner Act, etc and "minimum wage" legislation.

Those critics of right-to-work would make a much better case for themselves if they would demand repeal of the above legislation, most of which played a part in making right-to-work seem necessary as a counterweight to union power after WWII.

How about it, Comrades? Are you willing to demand freedom for workers all the way around, or just where employment of your own is concerned?

PEACE AND FREEDOM!!

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be attacked successfully, it is to be defended badly". F. Bastiat

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, finally they attack you, and then you win"! Mohandas Gandhi