The purpose of a union is to secure better wages, benefits and working conditions for its members. So says Websters dictionary.
But if you beleive most every teacher's union in Minnesota and the rest of the country, they exist only to make sure 'the children' get a good education in a loving environment. Teacher unions are benevolent care takers of our future generation. A better multi decade PR campaign has never been waged.
But in St Paul, the teacher union has had to actually go back to its mission of fighting for safe working conditions for its members. The problem? Assaults on teachers by the very students they are teaching.
The problem with most unions in America is that they were too successful. The fought for safe working conditions and got them, pushed for the 40 hour work week and got it signed into law, pushed for better pay than non union workers and got it. Having accomplished so much, unions had to invent new challenges to keep their members interested in paying their dues.
But the St Paul school system is a goo reminder that unions did one serve a vital purpose in America.