Bills are being introduced in Connecticut and Illinois that would require school curriculum to teach the history of the labor movement. The reason for these bills is summarized in Connecticut Democrats’ complaints that “the effects of labor rights and landmark strikes are being lost on the next generation of state residents.”
The complaint may be quite accurate, considering that unions are becoming increasingly irrelevant as their membership, popularity, and usefulness decline. Democrats are scrambling to hold on to the past and keep unions relevant by educating impressionable young kids about their importance. One would think that unions, having excessive and unique privileges, would be able to keep themselves relevant without help from the public school system.
The labor movement has accomplished good things in the past by helping to end child labor and excessive working hours, and the Connecticut version of the bill is not the worst thing ever, considering that it isn’t a mandate but a “tool the teacher can use if the teacher or the school system so chooses.” Call it optional indoctrination.
The Illinois version of the law, Senate Bill 2683, unlike the Connecticut version, is a mandate and the revised law would read, “The teaching of history also shall include a study of the history of organized labor in America, the role of labor unions and their interaction with government in achieving the goals of a mixed free enterprise system, and the collective bargaining process.”
We can trust that heavily unionized and Democratic Illinois school teachers will sing the praises of unions while conveniently leaving out the 78,903 Unfair Labor Practices filed against unions in the last 10 years, the fact that 92 percent of unions fail Department of Labor audits, the more than 9,000 incidences of union violence and intimidation since 1975, and the 2,056 union racketeering indictments since 2001.
If students are to be taught the history of the labor movement, they should be taught its downfalls, just like any other historical movement is taught. This would give kids both sides of the story so that they can be educated and informed on labor issues, not indoctrinated.