Let's face it. The union's job is to protect its members. That is the reason we fork over those big bucks paycheck after paycheck. But, union protection is something teachers need to be able to help their students and do what is best for them.
First and foremost, while most outsiders like to forget, TEACHERS ARE PEOPLE!!! They want the same things out of life that everyone else want: decent homes, nice clothes, occasional meals out, vacations, etc, Teachers are parents, people who need to earn a good living to provide for their own children. How can teachers be expected to take care of others when their own families aren't being taken care of?
Secondly, and probably most important to the general public, people who don't care that teachers are people, is that teachers can't do their jobs right without some sort of protection. And, here is where I will make this post personal.
Being on the front line I often saw things about my students that the people in charge did not. For example, there was an incoming ninth grader who did not score well on her placement exam. She was relegated to a remedial class. I quickly realized she did not belong there. When my assistant principal refused to move her, I went behind his back, convinced another teacher and a guidance counselor to change her program. (She went on to successfully complete AP calculus.) Without job protection, no one would have helped this girl. If my supervisor had found out what we did, and had the power, our jobs might have been in jeopardy. Another term, I was told to fail a student because of his attendance. Unfortunately, the young man's father was dying at the time and was under a lot of stress. The AP let me pass the boy, after a fight, but told me he would hold me accountable for the regents grade in the next class. While I had faith in what the boy knew, I had no clue as to what the next term would hold but agreed. I knew there was not a thing he could do to me if the boy didn't succeed.
Everyone should be entitled to due process before losing a job. The union's job is to guarantee this happens. It is the job of the supervisor to offer proof of incompetence, not the unions.
I walked the picket line in the 70's, lost 2 days pay for every day I was out. I missed many days of school during the '68 strike. I know the strikes helped me and helped future generations of teachers and it helped students. The gains we got kept quality teachers in the classroom and encouraged others to join the profession. Kudos to the Chicago teachers. Their sacrifice is for the children as well as for themselves.