After Teachers Die Saving Kids in Shooting, Republicans Move to Kill Their Unions
Republicans want to kill teachers’ unions after three teachers were murdered
When President Trump said on February 19 that he would be willing to sign stronger gun control initiatives with regards to background checks, it seemed to signify a watershed moment for the GOP with regards to their attitudes towards at least schools. Unfortunately, that seems to have been just a fluke as the Florida House Committee plans to vote on gutting teacher’s unions in their state.
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The United States has had a tragic number of mass shootings, from elementary schools like Sandy Hook in 2012 to music festivals like in Las Vegas 2017, to the shooting in Parkland Florida on Valentine’s Day. Each time a massacre has happened, the country goes through the same cycle of demanding change, only to see intractable resistance from National Rifle Association funded politicians. Primarily Republicans, these lawmakers and their support team in the punditry play to the ugly gun culture in America that values buckaroo machismo over human lives, even the lives of children.
Related: High School Principal’s Response to his School’s Tragedy is Just What America Needs to Hear
The reason the Florida school shooting seems to have a chance of inspiring real change compared to past incidents is because millennials and Generation Z, many of whom have never known a time when going to school wasn’t risking your life, seem to have found their voice. They are using this opportunity to initiate grassroots campaigns that cannot be ignored, and to bring the issue of gun reform to the voting booths. This was something that happened at a high school where kids should feel safe, and young people are seeing just how preposterous it is to continue to perpetuate the nonsensical myth that gun reform won’t do anything.
But students were not the only casualties of the rampage. Three instructors, Scott Beigel, Aaron Feis, and Chrix Hixon, were among the tragic casualties during the Parkland shooting. Beigel was a geography teacher, Feis an assistant football coach, and Hixon the athletics director. These heroes gave their lives to protect their pupils, and the last thing they deserve is for their legacy to be budget cuts brought about by the dissolution of teachers’ unions in their own state.
The proposed bill is HB 7055, and it contains a provision that will remove the bargaining power of any union that does not have 50 percent of its workforce. And considering Florida is a right-to-work state (read: right-for-companies-to-screw-over-their-employees state), it has been very hard for the Miami’s United Teachers of Dade to obtain 50 percent membership. Not only is this intended to undermine unions and the ability of workers to mobilize for fair treatment and wages, but it is also meant to undermine their electoral power, and their ability to organize and speak out. For themselves, and for their students. Just now the importance of their voices is very clear.
All three of the aforementioned victims were members of a union called the Broward Teachers Union (BTU). While members of that union are not under threat (yet) from this bill, BTU President Anna Fusco has openly attacked the legislators for even hearing this proposal less than a week after the Stoneman Douglas shooting. And she is right. This proposal is shameful at any time. At this time, so very much more so.
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