Honduran unions in Wisconsin? Nah. Just their spirits.
Here is an article from the Washington Examiner about the current machinations of many teachers and their union in Honduras. It notes,
Honduran President Porfirio Lobo on Sunday threatened to fire teachers if they continue a three-week-old strike that has aggravated divisions caused by a 2009 coup.
Teachers who fail to show up in classrooms Monday will be suspended without pay, according to the president's decree, which was read on radio and television stations. If teachers don't appear by April 4, they will be fired.
Lobo said he has the power to dissolve the teachers' unions for backing the strike.
The protesters oppose a proposed law that would give parents oversight of schools and they say the government owes six months of back pay to 6,000 teachers. They also demanding the return of leftist former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a 2009 coup [sic] backed by the nation's congress and courts.
Zelaya's term ended in January 2010, but many Zelaya backers argue Lobo's election was illegitimate because it occurred under an interim government installed by the coup.
A judge last week dropped arrest warrants against Zelaya so that he can return without fear of arrest, but the former leader, an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said he fears he will be killed if he comes back.
The unions immediately rejected Lobo's ultimatum.
"We are in the streets and we will stay there," said Jaime Rodriguez, president of the middle-school teachers' union.
Some may recall that President Obama, with very little thought beyond appeasing his base, inaccurately characterized the ouster of Zelaya as a military coup and steered left, consistently with the lead of el Presidente Chávez of Venezuela.
Here and here are recent articles from la Gringa's Blogicito about what's been happening with many but not all teachers and their union. (La Gringa lives in Honduras and wrote at Pajamas Media about the situation there.) She notes,
Despite prior laws and agreements, teachers refuse to be tested. Teachers refuse to be audited. School directors, unions, and politicians can put their friends and relatives, who may not work in any school anywhere, on the payroll. The education payroll even includes teachers who no longer even live in Honduras or who don't exist period, but incredibly Minister Ventura claims that the Estatuto de Docente prevents him from doing anything about it.
The union representatives walked away from Lobo's latest proposal, as they always do, and called for an indefinite, country-wide strike, as they always do. The unions have shown year after year that they have more power than the government. They have brought the last four presidents to their knees and have spent 14 months doing the same to this president.
Does any of this remind anyone else, even slightly, of the unions and their teachers in Wisconsin? Might they consider moving to Honduras? Or maybe they should stay where they are and Zelaya should join their union; el Presidente Chávez is too busy with other matters of state, as explained by Daniel, one of the very few remaining English language bloggers in Venezuela. However, Zelaya has the time and might enjoy the experience.