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Union Bullies (Fiction Corner)

by Izzy Kalman (June 2002)

I’m writing these words from the comfort of my hospital bed, where I am recovering from multiple injuries inflicted by my peers. [This story is fiction, as the title indicates – ICK]

Those of you who do not live in the New York Metropolitan area may not be aware of it, but our Teacher’s Union just succeeded in finalizing a new contract that awards a handsome 16% raise to its members. That includes me. Our Union has over 140,000 members, which gives us quite a lot of power. For a while, we were threatening to strike, which would have brought the city to a virtual standstill, as any of you who are parents can well imagine.

Just like everyone else, I have been listening to my fellow educators and psychologists teach us about the evils of bullying and how we must not tolerate it. As a good citizen, I try to do my part to stop others from engaging in bullying behavior and from being a bully myself.

I stood up at a big Union meeting and announced that it is wrong to bully New York City for more money, especially since Sept. 11, which has put our city in such dire financial straits. I explained that bullying means using power to gain personal advantage at the expense of others. Now, it’s not like any of us were starving to death. How could we, in good conscience, take money out of City coffers and thereby deprive others who may need it more?

To my great surprise, I couldn’t get even one of my fellow Union members to feel remorseful. They not only continued to bully the City for a raise, they viciously beat me up!

Fortunately, my Union is very strong and has gotten us health plans that would cost us a fortune if we had to pay for them by ourselves. I can peacefully recuperate from my injuries knowing that my hospital bills are all covered. Our plans are subsidized by all those non- Unionized folk who have to pay full price for their medical coverage. Unlike us union members, they don’t have the power to obtain personal advantage at the expense of others.

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