Albert Shanker was a great man. The quotation I have cited is often used as (or understood to be) a criticism of teachers’ unions. I don’t think it is. Mr. Shanker was a very clear-minded person and he was being utterly transparent. Those are good things.

Everyone who takes pride in his work thinks of himself as a “professional” – including burger-flippers. Supervisors encourage their direct-reports to be “professional” – including lawn service crews. Customers, in parting with their money, wish to deal with “professionals” – including parking lot attendants.

Mr. Shanker understood that personal remuneration is not the primary objective in a guild of craftsmen like doctors, CPAs, lawyers, architects, engineers.

Mr. Shanker understood that striking over pay is what pedestrian trade unions do, like electricians, truck drivers, longshoremen or mineworkers.