Warwick Teachers’ Union Throws Public Tantrum

This latest response by the Warwick teachers’ union reminded me of when our children were quite young and did what kids that age do when they don’t get their way – throw a tantrum:

The Warwick Teachers Union, responding to what it called a School Committee “ultimatum” over the issue of retroactive pay, says it is prepared to abandon contract negotiations until after the next election, in November 2006.
Mary M. Pendergast, the union president, made that statement during a May 18 meeting of principals in the talks, according to John F. Thompson, the School Committee chairman. Since then, two bargaining sessions were canceled and no more have been scheduled.
The teachers, whose last contract expired in August 2003, have demanded that any new agreement include retroactive pay raises for last year and for the year about to end.
“If we’re not willing to give them what they want, they’ll just wait until they get a School Committee that will,” Thompson said yesterday. “[Pendergast] said that they’ve been through this before and they’re willing to wait.”…
Pendergast yesterday confirmed her remark at that meeting but said it was forced by Thompson’s intransigence on retroactivity.
“To suggest that that’s a plan of ours is ridiculous, totally ridiculous,” Pendergast said. “If anyone is responsible, it’s [Thompson].”
The School Department’s latest contract offer, unveiled in March, includes a 3.5 percent pay increase for this year and in each of the next two years. It includes no money for raises retroactive to the 2003-2004 school year.
Now, though, school officials say their $142-million budget for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, contains no money to pay teachers retroactive raises for the current fiscal year either.
“John Thompson gave us an ultimatum: we have to forget about retroactive pay or wait out a new School Committee,” Pendergast said. “We are not going to back away from retroactive pay.”
James Ginolfi, a union executive board member, hinted at a more hard-line position on June 1, when he recalled a past contract dispute during a union rally in front of the State House.
“In Warwick, we’re going through a tough situation, but we have a strong union,” Ginolfi said. “In the early nineties we had a similar situation in Warwick, and guess what: you’d think some of the people on the School Committee in Warwick would have learned a lesson because the Warwick Teachers Union is still there and they’re long gone.”…
Now, “They would be prepared to wait until someone came to office who was willing to give them what they wanted,” Healy, the school board’s lawyer, said yesterday.
School officials, however, hope an agreement can be reached sooner. The sides have been in arbitration for almost nine months, and the School Department is trying to arrange an intense nine straight days of meetings with the neutral arbitrator in August.
The arbitration proceeding, which the union has opposed, is nonbinding on monetary issues, which could end up in court…

Now you have another example of why I have labeled such union behavior toward taxpayers as a form of legalized extortion.
As I have written about the East Greenwich contract dispute, the teachers’ union has NO incentive to be reasonable on contract terms if they expect to get retroactive pay – because receiving retroactive pay means they are made whole financially and therefore have no time pressure to reach an agreement.
Just to remind readers, this is the same teachers’ union that recently proposed free lifetime family health insurance for all teachers.
These AFT union people are as delusional as the East Greenwich NEA union people. See You Have To Read This Posting To Believe It! The Delusional World of the NEA Teachers’ Union for an example of equally odd behavior by the NEA in East Greenwich.

In a nutshell, here is what I think the negotiating position of the East Greenwich School Committee should be on some of the key financial terms of the contract.
Other postings include:
More Background Information on the East Greenwich NEA Labor Dispute
The NEA’s Disinformation Campaign
East Greenwich Salary & Benefits Data
More Bad Faith Behavior by the NEA
The Debate About Retroactive Pay
Would You Hurt Our Children Just To Win Better Contract Terms?
The Question Remains Open & Unanswered: Are We/They Doing Right By Our Children?
Will The East Greenwich Teachers’ Union Stop Their Attempts to Legally Extort Residents?
You Have To Read This Posting To Believe It! The Delusional World of the NEA Teachers’ Union
So What Else is New? Teachers’ Union Continues Non-Productive Behaviors in East Greenwich Labor Talks
“Bargaining Rights are Civil Rights”
In addition to financial issues, management rights are the other big teachers’ union contract issue. “Work-to-rule” or “contract compliance” only can become an issue because of how management rights are defined in union contracts. The best reading on this subject is the recent report by The Education Partnership. It is must reading.
Other editorials and postings include:
ProJo editorial: Derailing the R.I. gravy train
ProJo editorial: RI public unions work to reduce your family’s quality of life
ProJo editorial: Breaking the taxpayer: How R.I. teachers get 12% pay hikes
Selfish Focus of Teachers Unions: Everything But What Is Good For Our Kids
Tom Coyne – RI Schools: Big Bucks Have Not Brought Good Results
The NEA: There They Go, Again!
A Response: Why Teachers’ Unions (Not Teachers!) Are Bad For Education
“A Girl From The Projects” Gets an Opportunity to Live the American Dream
Doing Right By Our Children in Public Education Requires Thinking Outside The Box
Debating Rhode Island Public Education Issues
The Cocoon in which Entitled State Employees Live
Are Teachers Fairly Compensated?
The Deep Performance Problems with American Public Education
Freedom, Hard Work & Quality Education: Making The American Dream Possible For ALL Americans
Parents or Government/Unions: Who Should Control Our Children’s Educational Decisions?
Milton Friedman on School Choice

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Ralph Cote
Ralph Cote
18 years ago

Interesting article on the greed of the Teachers Union (not individual teachers). It was refreshing to read in Projo last week about the school in Narragansett that has graduated children that otherwise would have been in the state reform school sytem. And my compliments particularly to the teachers who have brought honor to their profession despite the low pay and perks.

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