Government worker unions wield tremendous power, which they then leverage for
personal gain even if it means harming the people they serve.
Nowhere is that more clear than in the context of teachers unions. When teacher
unions flex their muscles, students and families are harmed the most.
A recent situation in East Aurora – where the union is preventing bus
transportation for thousands of students – shows how teacher unions are willing
to interfere with the everyday lives of their students in order to get what they
The East Aurora District 131 teachers union is standing in the way of a plan to
provide busing for 3,000 additional students that would actually lower busing
costs in the district.
In April 2017, the school district voted to approve buses for all students who
live 1.5 miles or more from their schools. The vote meant bus transportation
would be available to more than 3,000 additional students.
To most efficiently provide the additional busing, the school district is
considering staggering start times at the schools. According to the district,
staggering start times would lower three-year busing costs between $343,000 and
It should seem like a win-win situation: More kids are bused, and the school
district saves taxpayer money.
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But there’s a catch. The union representing teachers and staff
disapprove of increased busing if it means changing school start
Like many school districts around the state, the teachers’
collective bargaining contract with the district governs school
start and end times. Changing the contract means negotiations
between the union and the school district. And that hamstrings
school districts from making timely decisions about the school day.
Of course, the union in East Aurora could simply recognize that
busing more students is in the students’ best interests and
negotiate a quick addendum to the original contract addressing start
But it doesn’t sound like union president Gerry Mestek is willing to
go the quick and painless route. Instead, he indicated that the
negotiating process could take too long to put the expanded busing
in place for next year.
In the meantime, those 3,000 students will not have bus
transportation next year.
As the situation in East Aurora demonstrates, teacher unions don’t
operate to push for the best interests of students. They operate to
advance union priorities. And students and their families suffer for
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