Power Motivates Unions

Published January 1, 2006

Some wonder why the teacher unions, long so fervently opposed to charter schools, are now aggressively trying to recruit their teachers.

Matthew J. Brouillette, president of the Commonwealth Foundation in Pennsylvania and a board member of the Charter School Advocacy Program, said the reason is “like the line from Jerry Maguire–‘Show me the money!’

“Charter school board members, parents, and teachers need to understand that unions are about one thing: Making sure they are the only game in town,” Brouillette said.

If a plan adopted in 2000 by the board of directors of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) is any indicator, Brouillette may be right.

In part, the PSEA’s plan says that to protect its “legal monopoly to represent public education employees … ‘all’ we have to do is to convince [charter school] teachers and support personnel to join. Once we obtain majority representative status, PSEA becomes the exclusive bargaining agent. IN NO OTHER ENDEAVOR PSEA UNDERTAKES CAN IT ENJOY THIS EXCLUSIVE POSITION [emphasis in original]. … The main source of PSEA’s influence is that almost all Pennsylvania teachers are unionized.”

— Brian Carpenter