12.19.2007

A Future Union Grunt's Perspective

If all goes according to plans, I'll be a unionized employee of the school district in a few weeks. Which definitely has some quality perks to it and I'm looking forward to having them. But gaining an understanding of the impact of the union on positions within the district makes me question the uncommon goals of the educational system and the union that represents the workers.

Uncommon meaning that the educational system has a goal of graduating every child with a certain level of skills. The union has a goal of getting as much as possible for the workers it represents. And affording those workers a strange sense of job security even if they happen to do a really bad job.

That's one of the things I don't get about unions. They protect really crappy workers. People, who would normally bounce out after a few months and go on to find something they were actually good at, can sit and fester in their position. They can do a bad job for a long, long time and still draw a paycheck just for occupying their seat at their desk.

There are also some bizarre job claiming rights things going on. If my current temp position's job requirements are rewritten and hours are added to make it full time then the position is opened up to anyone qualified person with seniority (pretty much everyone) in the district to decide they want it can come and take it and force me to work somewhere else. Oh, and the school has no say in it either. Does that make any sense? The school that will be dealing with the tech can't say no to the person coming in to occupy the lab and work around the campus.

Just because they can pass a fingerprint background check doesn't mean that there aren't some pretty freaking creepy geeks walking the earth. Some say over who works at your school would be, I don't know, polite at the least and smart bureaucracy at the best.

I don't pretend to understand even half of the nuance of union relations and definitely not very much of the educational system. But I have a little knowledge of bureaucracy and its special forms of tortured process. It involves lots and lots of meetings and meetings drain life force.

If there are any union folks reading this, enlighten me as to the value of retaining obviously sub-standard workers.

As an aside, someone should make a funny movie called Bureaucrazy modeled after Office Space, it would be instantly accessible by far too many enslaved 'crats.

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