Lecturers unions know the way to play hardball. Final 12 months noticed academics strike throughout the nation, from Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif., to Denver and West Virginia. This 12 months, amid the coronavirus pandemic, leaders of the Nationwide Training Affiliation and the American Federation of Lecturers have signaled that they might contemplate strikes if faculties reopen with out adequate security protections.
The NEA’s and AFT’s security issues are affordable. However looming behind the talk is a coming spike in the price of unfunded pension obligations. A one-two punch of elevated pension prices and recession-dented revenues could affect whether or not some faculties reopen.
Except Washington offers extra schooling funding, the pension tab will power states and faculty districts to slash spending that reaches the classroom. That may drive the academics unions to oppose reopening faculties—whereas claiming the ethical excessive floor of scholar security.
The reopening of public faculties poses an financial conundrum: If the colleges aren’t open, many dad and mom will lack youngster care and be unable to return to work. If dad and mom can’t work, the economic system can’t get well. Lecturers unions are thus ready to carry the economic system hostage.