I think the whole idea of sick days distinguished from vacation or leave days has passed by. I favor the PTO concept. In my view, there should be a limit of how many days should be allowed to accrue to be paid out at the end of one’s service or contract. Lastly, PTO beyond a set number of days, say 3, needs to be pre approved or else becomes unpaid. If the PTO is for sickness, same applies, after three days one needs a medical note or approval.
Sorry if that does not fit someone’s idea that a job is secondary or terciary in one’s life plan but it is impossible to manage a business wherein employees come and go at their whim...even if they work for the government. Yes, one earns their PTO but with that does not come the right to use it whenever they wish regardless of the impact on their employer and coworkers. All IMO of course.
My wife has taught 25 years. Several years back she had a serious operation, used 4 months worth of sick days hospitalized and in recovery; was glad that she had saved all those days rather than using several days every year. Honestly, that's how most teachers use their sick days.
Most teachers out there are not all that happy with the NEA either; they want a union more responsive to education than politics. If a teacher attempts to quit the NEA, they are quickly blackballed and fired; and it has always been that way. Most teachers view their $100/month union dues as the price of their occupation and ignore all the left wing politics of the NEA.