Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MO Elementary Schools Passing Out Pro-Union Propaganda to Students

Bob McCarty uncovered this interesting tidbit in materials being distributed by Missouri Elementary Schools to their students.

In the Missouri Studies Weekly, a contest is being held that will pay $5 to each student who writes a letter pretending to be a union leader demanding things from his or her employer that gets published in the paper.

6 comments:

Bob McCarty said...

I must correct you. Both items highlighted in my first blog post on the topic -- the "Let's Write contest" and the "Labor Unions Improve Working Conditions" article -- appear in the same issue of Missouri Studies Weekly. Thanks! -- Bob McCarty

Anonymous said...

As a guest teacher I have used the Missouri Studies Weekly in the classroom. I am glad the blog host printed the excerpt in question as it makes it easier to comment knowledgeably. With all due respect, I would hardly call this item an attempt to "brain wash" the student. The purpose here is to stimulate interest in both writing and an important part of American history. The exercise appears to be entirely voluntary. The $5 prize is quite nominal, though it may be appealing to a student whose non-union father is out of work.

Recently, volunteer teachers from a major international corporation were invited into the classroom to present a lesson of several hours' length on the way a community functions. This mini-course, developed -- I believe -- by Junior Achievement, was fairly innocuous, though it was heavy on mom-and-pop businesses in a small-town setting (and thus not reflective of big city problems). If such an event can be held in the public schools, a voluntary contest of this nature seems only fitting.

James said...

Bob, thanks for the correction! It has been removed from the original post.

Thanks,
James

James said...

Anon,

I disagree. If it were an excercise not intended to bias the student to be pro-union, why did the excercise or contest not allow students a choice to write from the perspective on either side of the issue?

Would it not be a far more educational experience to get students thinking about both labor and management's view points?

Currently the UAW Local 31 is striking against GM here in KC. As a result, 2600 UAW members aren't earning a wage right now. In addition, hundreds of workers from 3 other companies have been laid off because those companies supply the GM plant.

What's UAW striking over? Poor working conditions, low wages, poor benefits? Nope, they want workers with seniority, earning $28 an hour, to be able to choose and work line jobs that normally only pay $14 an hour and are easily filled at that $14 an hour wage. Not exactly a situation of management harming labor.

If anything, the union is doing harming its members because in all likelihood GM will now look to move this plant to Mexico to avoid this situation in the future.

With all things there needs to be balance. And although unions were once a necessity in the US, they no longer are. They should be looking overseas at places like China and India where no such labor organzations exist. In the end, unionizing these third-world conutries would do more for the American worker than any strike domestically ever could.

Anonymous said...

The writer wonders whether my friend James has ever studied labor history in America -- honestly and truly studied it. This would include such events as the Haymarket affair in which the police ran riot, the cotton mill strike in the south in the 1930s, the Flint sit-down strike of 1937 (an event which was still remembered when I lived in Flint in the 1980s), and the mass resignation of teachers in Florida in 1968. Going from an innocuous school child's writing contest to the GM strike in Kansas City is something of a leap.

Understanding the plight of workers in America for the last two hundred years admittedly takes good will. It is ever so easy to point to foibles and injustices in the labor movement. (And when was there ever any human institution which was devoid of problems and injustices including the Roman Catholic Church and Enron?)

No, the far greater injustice is the greed rampant now among corporations in America. Who will deny this?

So, unions are no longer necessary? I suppose, then, we may safely abandon the traffic laws and the lawyers' and doctors' codes of ethics. Nirvana, then, has surely arrived and we may all pour into the streets in a festival of celebration!

Anonymous said...

Wow, talk about a leap! Unions irrellevent in modern America to we need no laws and live in utopia. Wow!

I oculdn't help but notice your examples all date back more than 40 years ago, which basically proves the point that unions have no real purpose in modern America. It's funny how you broght up Flint. How'd those unions work out for the auto workers there? Are there even any auto plants in Flint? Proving the point yet again.

It's funny how you brushed right over the arguements about offshoring being the real problem for workers today. Why is that? Likely because it doesn't fit your socialist agenda.

Let's look at modern unions, shall we. The teachers unions have achieved the success of having their members being the recipients of one of the highest paid jobs in America when you figure in the hours they actually work. Yet children are failling at an ever increasing rate. The US has fallen from first to near worst when it comes to math and science.

How about UAW, which blindly supports illegal immigration despite the fact that it is taking away the job opportunities for America's most needy citizens. The unions then encourage their usually over paid members to strike over silly issues only to just sit back and watch as jobs of those members are shipped offshore.

Unions in modern America are anything but good for America. If unions were actually looking out for workers they would be serving their members by bringing labor rights to the very countries that so desperately need them. The same countries that are able to steal the jobs of hard working Americans simply because their employers don't have to worry about safety standards, livable wages, enviornmental regulations, pensions, health insurance, the list goes on and on.

But then the 10% vigorish on the wgaes of a Chinese laborer don't quite measure up to the 10% unions can steal from the $60,000 a year button pushers at GM or the 9 month a year worksheet passer outers that are intrusted to teach our children.

Let me introduce you to the only tool workers need in modern America, it's called the civil justice system. The same system that awarded a lady $10 million for spilling coffee on herself. The same system that awarded hundreds of billions to smokers who knew smoking was bad for them when they started, the same system that on a daily basis stands behind the rights of the individual over the corporation.