SIMMONS: Bad bargaining and good sports

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Imagine a wide world of professional sports with only soccer and hockey.

It’s unlikely, but possible.

But don’t dip into your season-ticket stash just yet.

NFL fans are bracing for a possible lockout, NBA owners are getting advice from LeBron James and Major League Baseball is already gearing up for its Dec. 11 deadline.

And all collective-bargaining eyes are on Wisconsin, where union forces are marching on the capital.

What’s going on?

Union demands are shrinking post-recession coffers across the country.

Teachers and other public-sector unions want higher pay and increased benefits with fewer strings attached, and athletes want more money, too, even though they know that the number of zeroes in their salaries is inconceivable to teens who graduate from high school unable to distinguish the party of the first part from the party of the second part.

In Wisconsin, the governor has said the state can no longer afford to shoulder the high costs of collective-bargaining agreements, which spell out not only wages and hours, but also health care and professional-training benefits and safety standards.

We’ve acknowledged for decades that union demands can bankrupt a private firm. Now we’re coming to the realization that collective-bargaining agreements have strained our local, state and federal budgets as well.

Fiscal conservatives want to tighten the reins on spending, but tax-and-spenders can’t shake the habit.

There are no quick or easy fixes, but what Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is proposing is moving in the right direction toward protecting his state’s assets — just like the owners of sports teams.

As usual, supporters of workers’ rights are cloaking their protests under the umbrella of union busting. For them, whether a child gets readin’, writin’ or arithmetic takes a back seat to a teacher’s take-home pay.

This despite the fact that study after study after study has proved that whether it’s social studies, math or a simple book report, our children aren’t measuring up.

Is it solely the teachers’ fault?

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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