The above video shortchanges the exchange between Gov. Christie and the teacher, but it still gets the point across. Essentially, this teacher, who is a member of a union, doesn’t feel she’s being paid enough, and Christie responds by telling her she can quit. But as good as it feels to see someone in politics who’s not pandering to the unions, it’s more revealing to focus on the disgruntled teacher’s argument.
Rita Wilson’s brief argument is full of holes and glaring inconsistencies. Let’s start with the pay. As Governor Christie points out (this is just before the video cuts back in), she’s actually being paid more than $83,000 per year when you consider the annual cost of her benefits. If we’re generous, her pay accounts for only 6 months of work during the year. If she were paid $83,000 per year, then she’d be earning an annualized salary of $166,000 per year. But it gets worse. If Erick Erickson at RedState is correct, she actually makes $86,000 per year, or an annualized salary of $172,000. Perhaps Gov. Christie should accept her offer and save the taxpayers some money.
If that weren’t enough, she’s also a member of a teacher’s union. It’s perfectly fine that she’s made that choice, but did she not understand collective bargaining when she signed up? Her personal experience became irrelevant when she decided she would rather have the union negotiate her contract. You don’t get to have it both ways. She can’t agree to let the union handle her affairs and then whine about the contract she receives. If you think your qualifications merit better compensation, then ditch the union and bargain for your own contract.
Wilson concludes by responding to Christie, “teachers do it because they love it; that’s the only reason I do it.” Well, which is it? Either teachers like Wilson are willing to put up with a salary that immediately places their household in the top 25% nationwide and which is significantly above the state’s median income because they “love it,” or they aren’t. If Wilson honestly believes she is underpaid, then perhaps she should venture out into the private sector and prove it.