Thursday, August 17, 2006

Card Check Blues

The Broward (Fla.) Teachers Union recently got a simple majority of teachers at charter schools in Pembroke Pines to sign cards ("card check") seeking union representation, but after complaints from teachers that they were mislead by union organizers and confusingly-worded cards, city officials are insisting upon an election on the issue so that teacher voices can be heard -- hopefully without union or management manipulation.

The union had hoped that getting the signatures would allow automatic unionization, skipping a vote by teachers. But some teachers said they were signing to have an election, not to skip right to union representation.

"The card was very ambiguous," said science teacher Darryl Mahoney. "I was under the assumption we were going to have an election."

The Miami Herald story has some interesting comparisons between salaries in charter schools and traditional public schools in the county. (Hat tip to Mike Antonucci.)

If the charter school teachers in Pembroke Pines want union representation, they should get it. Labor and management should be able to make their respective cases (and teachers should be allowed to hold out for which ever side they think will give them the best deal) and neither side should be allowed to engage in funny business.

The process that is already in place in Florida (like in New York) can work if everyone is held accountable for ensuring that it is fair. You don't need card-check for that.

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