Two news stories this morning go a long way to illustrating the heavy-handed public sector union attitude on how seniority trumps all when it comes to job cuts and job assignments.
At the Pittsburgh Public Schools budgetary constraints have led the administration to shutter the new teacher academy. In its application for funding to the Gates Foundation the District heralded the academy as a critical factor in its approach to instruction. "We believe that the Academy, with its emphasis on hands-on, applied learning will make a dramatic difference in the way in which we bring new teachers into the system".
While the Pittsburgh teachers’ union stated the decision to close the academy was a decision by the administration, the handwriting on the wall was clear: "…the collective bargaining agreement…would not allow new teachers to work while more senior teachers were furloughed." The proposal made it clear several times throughout that the union would have the final say on contractual matters. That makes the praise heaped upon the District and the union by a think tank quite misplaced.
Now to the meter readers, represented by another union and under a separate collective bargaining agreement with the Public Parking Authority. Even before higher rates and longer hours of enforcement went into effect the moaning and groaning over the right to select shifts began. The accusation leveled by the union is that newer part-time workers are getting daylight shifts and the more senior employees are getting evening hours. The implication is that Authority management is taking factors like absenteeism and ticket counts into their decision-making criteria.