Cut union subsidies
Since its legalization in 1999, the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union has caused nothing but chaos to the Korean education system.
The union is wrapped up in its own egalitarianism and has continually opposed the diversification of schools, including the opening of elite education institutes.
It also has been involved in anti-government acts, including protests against the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement and the import of U.S. beef.
City education boards have announced that they will provide the union with subsidies for office rental and business overhead for the next 10 years. This year alone, 16 city education boards gave the union 4.28 billion won ($4.08 million) in office rental fees and 630 million won to cover operational costs.
They are giving away hard-earned tax money to the wrong people.
What’s worse is that the education boards see nothing wrong with the situation.
They argue that giving the union this money is in line with current labor union law.
But this is a mere excuse on their part, employed only in order to get on the union’s good side.
Nowhere in the current labor union act does it say that education boards must provide the union with money to be used for office rents.
The act actually states that providing a related union with money or other goods is categorized as unfair dealing, although providing the union with an office is an exception.
This exception exists in the act in order to ensure that unions have the minimal amount of resources needed to be able to operate. It does not mean that city boards must pay out office rental subsidies.
Clearly, then, the boards are under no obligation to provide unions with their own offices.
But the education boards and the union still went ahead and struck a deal over the office rents.
It is wrong that what is arguably a loophole in the law should be abused like this.
The boards are being bullied by the union and doing nothing about it.
Every month, the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union collects 0.8 percent of the monthly salaries of its 77,000 members.
Surely this is more than enough for the union to cover the costs of its own offices.
We call on the education boards to stop providing the current level of aid to the union, which is sabotaging the education system in Korea. That is not what the public pays taxes for.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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