Jack Roeser Blog

Thoughts, views, and observations forged during a long, active life, 83 years, by Jack Roeser- inventor, engineer, manufacturer, soldier, racing sailor, pilot, entrepreneur, classical liberal (conservative) activist, father and husband, and proud American.

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Jack Roeser is Chairman and founder of Otto Engineering Inc. a manufacturer of electronic control and communication switches for aerospace, medical and industrial uses. Otto’s success is marked by the high precision and quality of its products. Jack has received over 50 patents in Electrical, Mechanical, Machinery and Marine products. In 1994, he ran for Governor in the Republican primary, receiving 26% of the primary vote. For over 25 years, Jack has been an advocate of education reform through the application of free market principles and of school choice. Jack's sport is sailing; he has won the Chicago - Mackinac race among many others.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Auto Unions + Teacher Unions = Disaster

But for a heroic stand by Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, you wouldn’t be able to buy a car made in America. That major industry would have gone the way of American TV manufacturers like Zenith, who built an industry and then saw it go overseas.

The year was 1948 and the battlefield was the Taft–Hartley Amendment. The old Labor Relations bill, called the Wagner Act, allowed union contracts that required a worker to join the union if he wanted to keep his job. Imagine that. You had to pay dues and abide by the contract whether you wanted to or not, or whether it was racket dominated, Communist influenced, or just plain stood for issues you did not embrace. The Taft-Hartley Amendment changed that law with right-to-work protection that freed an employee from forced unionization.

Senator Dirksen, then a Congressman, understood that no American worker should have to kiss the ring (put other personal part of choice here) of either his employer or his union agent. Dirksen argued on behalf of T-H, particularly Paragraph 14B which contained a provision whereby any State legislature could pass a law returning that economic right to the American worker- a man did not have to belong to the union to hold his job.

Dirksen was the greatest orator of his day, possessing the kind of wisdom and judgment which, as now, are all too rare. He spoke against forced unionization at home and in Congress; he filibustered; he refused to cave to the powerful unions and their toadies in Congress. Dirksen made them accept 14B, and it’s still there.

Twenty-one states have since enacted the exception honoring the freedom from unfair force. But in legislatures in states like Illinois and Michigan, the battle for 14B exception was pitted against such powerful unions as Walter Reuther’s United Auto Workers that wielded massive political budgets and bludgeoned legislatures and manufacturers into line.

Time passed. As the automobile union lords dumped expensive, low-quality, gas-eating rust buckets on us, the public clamored for quality and efficiency. The unholy combine of big business and big labor began to lose out.

Today, the remaining domestic auto companies are saddled with unreasonably high costs in wages, health care, and pensions. They are all headed for bankruptcy. You can still buy an auto made in America, but not by the oligarchs of the past. These days, the industry is led by foreign manufacturers who have set up operations in the 21 states that passed 14B. They pay good wages to American workers who perform a quality job under reasonable work rules.

In Illinois, we are losing the last of the domestic auto manufacturers due to the failure of our legislature to enact 14B. That short-sightedness is extending its ruin to the K-12 education industry under domination of a government monopoly ruled by the biggest, richest, greediest union of them all- the Illinois Education Association, a chapter of the National Education Association.

Their price in taxes is high and getting higher. Their education is the “rust bucket” of low quality service.

The similarity to the auto union is clear. The pension plan foisted off on us by this 800 pound gorilla, the IEA, is $23 Billion in the hole. As things stand, Illinois taxpayers are obligated to pay that out of the state’s General Revenue Fund, probably $2 Billion next year alone.

A public school bureaucracy operating as a government-coferred monopoly and an entrenched union that regularly funnels campaign money to state legislators and local school board members are giving us the most expensive, lousy education in the industrial world. Russia, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, and Korea do far better at less cost. They operate under principles of educational freedom which follow the American ideal better by far than our own schools.

So how do we break this stranglehold? We can start by enacting 14B legislation in Illinois to get free of bad unions, and by enacting vouchers for kids to restore purchasing power to us customers.

Senator Everett Dirksen was as great as he sounded. Where is his equal today? The answer is “Nowhere.” It’s up to you to fight for your free American rights.

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Blogger Truthful James said...

Jack --

You are using the comparison that I have used. The closed shop industrial union which is the NEA thrives by eliminating competition.

14B is a good start from one side of the problem. That si to return Education Value to the schools.

Too many people have looked at the problem from the point of view of Education Costs. Yes, they are obscenely high.

But as long as Americans have disposable income, and as long as the carny barker can convince them that nirvana lies inside the tent for just a little more money, there will be suckers everywhere who believe that it is 'or the kids'.

Every solution proposed within the box by Illinois government involves more money. To do what?

To lower class size? Which means what? Well, if we have the so called 'cream of the crop' it mens hiring even lower qualified teachers. We are already burdened by a union in which advanced education degrees are used to justify 'Content Mastery.' All that means is that the teacher can read the texbook faster than the student.

We need Subject Matter Mastery, a love of the subject and an affection for the pupils. We need people up to date in the Subjects they teach, with graduate work in that Department, not in Education Schools.

Right now the Curriculum weenies have screwed a couple of generations out of the basics, by using methodologies which are easier to teach. We substituted whole words for phonics. We put in fuzzy math with approximate answers.. Both are going away, but we hurt a generation of students.

14B should not include any Public Body. Closed shops are illegal in most states...except for public bodies.

The auto industry changed, thanks in part to 14B, whn competition occurred in the marketplace. Quality was delivered. The families and the country deserve nothing less.

On the education side of the fence, as a start we need charter schools with the students and their families vested equally with tuition moneys. That is the first step to choice, which in the long run is the only solution.

One didtrict at a time, we must validate School Choice. Open all schools, private, public, charter to the game.

That leaves the ISBE which is the most dangerous State government entity. They have dumbed down the tests, normed up the results and lowered certification requirements. They are a danger to the family, the State and the Country Run by Education school graduates for the benefit of the education systems, their standards are dragging in the sand.

You might ask Ron Gidwitz what the hell he was doing when he was Chairman.

In the meantime this country is falling behind in the 21st Cemtury world economy.

12:54 PM  

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