Reality check: Unions cross line
posted Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 @ 1:00 pm
We suggest Sandie Lollie get in touch with reality.
John Hopkins should do the same.
We extend that courtesy to the two union representatives in light of the hot-headed remarks they made earlier this week about state Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe.
For the record, Lollie serves as president of Monroe Federation of Teachers, which is a subsidiary of Louisiana Federation of Teachers. LFT is one of the two largest teachers unions in the state.
Hopkins is president of Ouachita Trades and Labor Council. It is a subsidiary of the AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO is one of the largest union organizations in the United States.
Walsworth, it seems, offended Lollie because he supports Gov. Bobby Jindal's efforts to reform public education in Louisiana. The teachers unions oppose the reform measures.
Education reform is a hot topic currently being considered in the regular legislative session.
Hopkins apparently is upset with Walsworth because he voted against a resolution to extend debate on education reform. Hopkins claims the debate should be extended through the weekend to allow educators from across Louisiana to travel to Baton Rouge to participate in the process.
We do not disagree with Hopkins' argument that state lawmakers should consider conducting business over the weekend. At the very least, that would give the working public an opportunity to get involved in shaping legislation, especially proposals as important education reform measures.
Hopkins, though, crossed the line when he said he was prepared to file a recall petition against Walsworth if Walsworth did not show Hopkins the courtesy of calling him to discuss his position on education reform. Threatening to launch a recall petition against a member of the state Senate is not the proper course a union representative should pursue if he truly desires to engage in an open and productive dialogue with a conservative Republican like Walsworth. After all, conservative Republicans and the unions do not have a track record of agreeing on much of anything.
Lollie should know by now that the teachers unions have very little clout with the Jindal administration, including one of its floor leaders in the Legislature such as Walsworth. Running to the media to publicly pick a fight with a Jindal administration floor leader was not the wisest thing Lollie could have done if she was truly interested in convincing Walsworth to entertain the teachers unions' complaints about Jindal's education reform proposals.
Perhaps the teachers unions would encounter a more receptive audience with the Jindal administration if the teachers unions were not responsible for spreading erroneous information about Jindal's efforts to reform public education.
Unfortunately, we have lost track of the number of times that we have been exposed to the unions exhibiting behavior that could be described as irrational, or out of touch with reality.