While not completely similar to the recent events in Madison, Wisconsin, the Boston Police Strike of September, 1919, does present an opportunity to examine the reasons for the work action and the course of action taken by a future President of the United States, the then governor of Massachusetts, Calvin Coolidge.
Desperately underpaid (annual salary of only $1,100) and working out of filthy hovels used as police stations, the 1,500 man Boston Police Department of 1919 had formed a union which the Police Commissioner,Edwin U. Curtis, refused to recognize. From the Boston Police Patrolman's website:
The police strike threatened to turn into a general trade union strike that would have paralyzed the city. Coolidge mobilized the Massachusetts National Guard to maintain order and stop the looting.
In 1919, during the inflation that followed World War I, Boston police officers saw their wages hold steady while the cost of living and the incomes of other groups rose. The Boston Police Social Club affiliated as the Boston Police Union. The Police Commissioner refused to recognize the new union and terminated scores of union leaders. On September 9, 1919, the strike started with 1,117 of the city's 1,544 officers walking off the job. Governor Coolidge called in the state guard to put down the looting that resulted in 7 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The strikers were fired and never rehired. Coolidge went on to become President of the United States.
Coolidge maintained the following rationale
“There appears to be a misapprehension as to the position of the police of Boston. In the deliberate intention to intimidate and coerce the government of this Commonwealth a large body of policemen, urging all others to join them, deserted their posts of duty, letting in the enemy. This act of theirs was voluntary, against the advice of their well-wishers, long discussed and premeditated, and with the purpose of obstructing the power of the government to protect its citizens or even to maintain its own existence. Its success meant anarchy. By this act, through the operation of the law they dispossessed themselves. They went out of office. They stand as though they had never been appointed.Due to the extreme working conditions that infuriated the striking officers, it seems harsh that none of them were allowed to return to duty. The reason for this was simple and it still stands as a tribute to the service required of every law enforcement officer:
."... a policeman does not strike; he deserts. The policeman’s status is not that of a laborer but a defender of peace and order.”Go to Canada Free Press for more.
In Madison we are not dealing with police officers who have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of (your State) and the Constitution of the United States. Teachers are not expected to maintain order and are not issued weapons in order to do so. After seeing some of the footage of these striking teachers I thank God that liberal socialists do not believe in arming themselves.
But they are doing the same thing that the Boston cops tried to do, they are trying to "intimidate and coerce" the State of Wisconsin into doing something that is contrary to the will of Wisconsin's elected officials. The teachers' unions seek to inflict their will on the entire State, thus superceding the laws of the land. This is a bare faced grab for political power by the state's public service unions.