Vergara v. California: Unions Gear Up for Round Two, The Appeal.

These mercenaries only look more effective.

These mercenaries only look more effective.

When you eliminate important protections for teacher activists and others who speak out for students, “you turn schools into teacher turnover factories,” said UTLA President-Elect Alex Caputo-Pearl. That’s a pretty powerful statement that just plain ignores certain key facts. Due to the Union’s key method of protecting the most senior teachers, schools in the inner city have become just that…teacher turnover factories. Sadly, Caputo-Pearl is using the very facts that prompted this case, in an attempt to defend the Union’s adamant opposition to it.

To be clearer…if the problem that Vergara was about did not exist, then why Mr. Caputo-Pearl, were inner city schools hit hardest by layoffs in the past years?

Exactly. Teachers’ Unions have to be about employment issues…that’s all that they can be about. It is why they exist. Reed v. UTLA and Vergara v. California were about Civil Rights issues…student Civil Rights. In my book, that trumps employment issues every time.

From UTLA’s own web site:

“California’s educators are disappointed by the judge’s decision in the Vergara v. State of California as it hurts students and educators. From the beginning, this lawsuit has highlighted the wrong problems, proposed the wrong solutions, and followed the wrong process. Today’s groundless decision has been stayed and all laws remain in effect while parties appeal.”

If you are a Union, I can see how it focuses on the “wrong problems” since the case was not actually about employment matters. To say that it followed the “wrong process” is really a deeper criticism of the American Legal System, which I’m willing to assert that my Union has little real knowledge of. To call the decision “groundless” is to discount the rooms full of testimony and evidence, star witness testimony of administrators, teachers, and students, and the Judge’s succinct but incisive ruling. It’s fund to say “groundless,” but that’s really just grandstanding.

I’ve been in favor of the Vergara case’s plaintiffs for a year now. I have supported the case in media, and been outspoken about it. At this point, that does not make me very popular with a whole lot of other teachers, and especially with Union die hards. Most of these people have “come to the party late,” having just heard of the case as the decision was made. I’ve had some awkward phone calls and interactions, as many people in various positions try to get their feet under them about what it means.

It’s really no big deal to me. The short fact of it is…I pay dues to these Unions, mostly because laws are in place that force me to. They have not represented my views politically or legally in the fifteen years that I have been teaching, and recently, I have found myself supporting the other side of cases against them. I don’t exactly fault them for it. I stand for student rights, and that’s it. They have to stand for teacher rights, it’s their mandate. When the two are at odds, we each have the side that we are obligated to stand with.

Still…the continued conversations, with me personally, are a bit on the annoying side. In those conversations, Union people are like the mercenary in the art…sadly unarmed for the talk. When speaking with “just a rogue teacher,” Union people seem to think that they are speaking to a five year old girl in pig tails. They come prepared for an easy win in court or in discourse, much like the cool looking guy in the art only has knives for a serious super conflict. It’s condescending and irksome, as I have been involved in this case for way longer than last week, and communicate in other than slogans parroted from CTA or Mr. Caputo-Pearl.

Neither our hero, or myself, think like a five year old girl in pig tails. More importantly, when we need to fight for something, we don’t fight like five year old girls…unless those five year old girls have nukes in their knuckles.

I for one, look forward to the inevitable Amicus Brief, on appeal. Then again, I also know what “groundless” means.

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