Children Are Their Life? No, Children Are Their Leverage.

It occurs to me that several buildings’ worth of kindergarteners began their school experiences last week in Tiverton. What a wonderful early educational experience this would be:

The teachers union membership this evening authorized its negotiating committee to call a strike if it deemed it necessary next Tuesday.
Amy Mullen, the NEA-Tiverton teachers union president, said the members authorized the committee at a 4:30 p.m. meeting to “to take whatever action it deems necessary up to and including a strike on Tuesday.”

So the negotiating committee has been authorized to commit union members to criminal activity? Can’t the school request that a judge preemptively remind the teachers that striking is illegal? Perhaps the school committee should tell the union — which has declared that it “will not continue to meet with the School Committee’s current configuration of negotiators” — that any empty classrooms on Tuesday will be presumed to be in need of a new teacher.
I also note that, instead of offering the public the look behind the contractual curtain that I requested from him, Pat Crowley has released quite a different document:

Crowley last night released a copy of a memo Schools Supt. William J. Rearick sent to teachers Tuesday apologizing for telling them to “sit down and shut up” at a district orientation meeting in the high school auditorium earlier that day.
“My intention was to get the meeting started in a timely manner, in retrospect I should have chosen my words more carefully,” Rearick wrote.
“I want to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone I may have offended,” the superintendent added.
Rearick last night said it happened after he’d tried to call the orientation meeting to order without success.

It’s time these “professionals” — which teachers profess (and indeed ought) to be — learned that there are consequences to allowing the unions to make bullies and blackmailers of them.

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mikeinRI
mikeinRI
13 years ago

To Pat Crowley it’s a game, and one he seems to really enjoy. He has called school administrators and school committee members “management” and seems to view them as the enemy, thus his efforts to embarrass the superintendent with the release of the apologetic letter.
The long term consequences of a strike have severe repercussions on teachers, students, administrators, and community members. Crowley’s actions won’t make it any easier.

Pat Crowley
13 years ago

Sorry for not getting back earlier, Jus, but been a little busy. Besides, does it really matter what I say for your audience….
I guess the fact that the school committee in Tiverton has refused to meet with the teachers has no bearing on your argument….
Now, you should check with a lawyer before you start referring to people as criminals or engaged in criminal activity. Hence my argument for you to get some more back ground information…..

Pat Crowley
13 years ago

By the way, what is with the Jason Priestly avatar?

Justin Katz
13 years ago

I’m not asking for you to say anything, Pat. I’m asking you to release information that the public can consider objectively; if your Tiverton healthcare plan has merit, then you oughtn’t be afraid to put it out there for public scrutiny.
As it is, we’re left with no capability to judge the various salvos.
As for the necessity that I check with a lawyer, I offer in my defense, first, that teacher strikes are illegal, and that which is illegal is criminal by definition, and, second, that I placed the matter of criminality in the form of a question. I’m asking: is that what the union members have authorized the negotiating committee to initiate?

Justin Katz
13 years ago

By the way, thank you for supporting, in multiple ways, my accusation of bullying.

Mike
Mike
13 years ago

I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the only answer is the dismantling of the public schools and relacing it with a voucher system which increases yearly for COLA’s-not a penny more. For citizens only-no illegals or anchor babies.
Most of RI’s quasi-Marxists probably don’t realize there is NO federal constitutional requirement that the state operate public schools.

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

>>I guess the fact that the school committee in Tiverton has refused to meet with the teachers has no bearing on your argument….
Justin –
This is just a red herring on the part of NEARI.
It professes that the school committee won’t meet at the table – because it has a designated negotiator. This is an classic negotiating technique in which the person with final authority to approve is NOT at the table (folks who’ve bought a car have experienced a variation of this with the salesperson having to “go back to the sales manager” for approval).
In particular, with a school committee if there was enough for a quorum then there is “authority” to bind the committee (and thus the taxpayers).
The problem with NEARI’s position is that it is doing exactly the same thing. The rank and file teachers who will “vote” to “ratify” the contract are not at the table or allowed to witness the negotiations.
If NEARI agreed to have ALL of the sessions open to the public, then it might have some legitimate claim to object if the school committee didn’t participate in the day-to-day.
Other than that, it’s just more of the union’s PR bull****.

John
John
13 years ago

Maybe someday in RI a school committee will have the guts to fire striking teachers, replace them with new ones, and say to the union, “see you in court.” I have no doubt where most parents’ and other taxpayers’ sympathies would lie.

Jon
Jon
13 years ago

Justin – I am not familiar with the law making teacher strikes illegal, but that which is illegal is not necessarily criminal. You’ve been stopped for speeding, right? Unless you were going very, very fast you probably received a ticket and were not arrested. That’s because most traffic violations are civil violations of the law, not criminal. That’s just one example; many actions are illegal but not criminal.

Justin Katz
13 years ago

Your point’s taken, Jon, but I didn’t intend to make a specific legal claim. m-w.com defines “crime” as “an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law” and lists “illegal” and “criminal” as synonyms.

Pat Crowley
13 years ago

Jus, if you want to see the spread sheet, send me your email and I will get it to you. I am working on posting it on my site now.
By the way, the UNION is proposing a High Deductible plan. As I explained to the members, if the current President did ANYTHING right, it was allowing this type of health care plan to exist.
By the way, if we are using the students as pawns, wouldn’t it be fair to say that you are using them as human shields?

Steve Gregson
Steve Gregson
13 years ago

Pat is just one “more wanna be thug” in the Union’s quiver. Their attempts at bullying the tax payer’s into submission are not working as well as they use to. During 2004 negotiations in EG we were able to diffuse many attempts of intimidation by using their own tactics against them.Bad decisions are made late at night,after 4 hours go home! Get the negotiations out in public. Let the people that pay the bills know what is going on.Hire tutors when work to rule is taking place and pay the tutors with the teacher’s wages.Bring to light that teaching as a profession is a choice.When it’s time to fight take no prisoners. The Union doesn’t.Now is the time, do it right!

WJF
WJF
13 years ago

Teacher contributions to health care don’t mean much when the money is given back to the Union under the guise of “longevity” or other types of compensation.
Plus, let us not forget that when we hear a contract was signed with a 3 1/2 percent raise, this is not the whole story. Include stipends, days off (often cashed in), step increases and the aforementioned longevity, and you will see that half of our teachers receive raises well in excess of 10%.
Then throw in the pension AND social security (yes, about half of our schools receive both).
Getting 15% co-pays, to borrow Gio’s phrase, is a good START.

Pat Crowley
13 years ago

“Then throw in the pension AND social security (yes, about half of our schools receive both).”
Nope. Wrong. Again. And even the ones who do get Social Security have it reduced thanks to the GPO/WEP rules of the Federal Government. Thank you Ronald Reagan.
And on the work to rule.. HMMM, let’s see… both sides agree on a set of rules and conditions. The teachers normally go above and beyond those rules…. then, they decide to follow the rules… and that is being a thug? I thought all you law and order righties were all about following the rules?
Guess it just shows that the rules are only cool when they work in your favor.
Tom W just shows his ignorance on most things beyond the walls of his cloister so it isn’t even worth getting to all his missed points. It must be lonely in that world Tom. Sometimes I feel bad for you.
Sometimes.

Mike
Mike
13 years ago

Posted by Pat Crowley at September 2, 2007 5:53 AM
And even the ones who do get Social Security have it reduced thanks to the GPO/WEP rules of the Federal Government. Thank you Ronald Reagan.
XXX
You could have said “thank you Democrat Congress” but I guess that wouldn’t be in keeping with your Marxist theories.
Pat-what is your bet for the year teacher 401k’s come in. The over/under is 2012.

WJT
WJT
13 years ago

“Nope. Wrong. Again. And even the ones who do get Social Security have it reduced thanks to the GPO/WEP rules of the Federal Government. Thank you Ronald Reagan. “
Pat, please explain. Am I wrong that teachers get pension and SS (which you seem to admit), or am I wrong that its “about half” of them? Considering I got that estimate from our school district’s Director of Finance, and considering it’s not a competitive employment market but rather one based on seniority, it is possible he isn’t competent. Please share the data and source if I have been misinformed.
And “wrong again” infers more than once. Was there something else I said you would like to discuss?

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

>>Tom W just shows his ignorance on most things beyond the walls of his cloister so it isn’t even worth getting to all his missed points. It must be lonely in that world Tom. Sometimes I feel bad for you.
Ah, now there’s a specific and fact-based rebuttal – a most compelling argument for NEA!

Pat Crowley
13 years ago

The majority of school districts, 22, in the State do NOT participate in Social Security. The ones that do, or, if a teacher works outside (which most do) they have their benefits reduced, sometimes by more than 60%.
Now, what is the big deal about getting a pension AND social security anyway? Most workers do, right? Why shouldn’t teachers, especially when they are paying 50% of it anyway?
Maybe if the private sector non union workers fought harder and organized to protect their pensions and avoided the massive cost shift of the 401K they would be better off? Why drag everyone to the bottom when you can fight to raise everyone to the top?
On that subject, have you ever wondered why as soon as workers started to pay co-shares for health insurance the cost of health care sky rocketed? Where are all of the Friedman scholars now? Whether it is state intervention or corporate intervention, doesn’t that seem to contradict market forces?
TomW is just silly.

WJF
WJF
13 years ago

You say 22 of 39, Walsh (today on LE) said “less than half” and I said, “almost half.” Sounds like we essentially agree – amazing (but not quite worthy of the claim, “nope, wrong, again.”
And while you are admitting your errors, don’t forget to tell everyone about the ‘super-match’ teachers receive compared to the normal employer contributions.
Today’s world is too transparent for the unions to continue getting away with these bogus sound bites.

Bob Walsh
Bob Walsh
13 years ago

WJF or WJT,
Actually, I’ll have to watch, but I probaly said about half, which is the correct answer – and, so by the way, is about 22 districts, since Providence is in Social Security, skewing the numbers. The GPO/WEP problem also limits mobility within RI, as teachers in Social Security districts interested in moving to other districts (either as teachers or administrators) usually limit their choice to other Social Security districts.
But you are incorrect if by referring to a super-match you are implying that the employer contribution to pensions actually benefits the current teacher, when in fact most of it goes to the unfunded pension liabilty and relating it to current salaries is merely an accounting procedure. I am looking forward to folks on this blog finally understanding that fact, and admitting their error on this topic.

Justin Katz
13 years ago

And, Bob, we’re looking forward to your admitting that your organization helped to put the officials who’ve spent our state up to the precipice into office, and that your clients/members have been among the prominent beneficiaries of that spending.

WJF
WJF
13 years ago

Thank you for making my point, Bob.
And thank you, Don, for posting The Education Partnership website. Readers will also find copies of each school contract on their site.
The next time you hear that the unions fought to have disciplinary records expunged after only 1 year, go back and read Mr. Walsh’s comments regarding tenured teachers. Removing management’s ability to manage is very much a part of the union’s agenda.

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

Alas, so many rebuttals to the unions’ false economics and red herring arguments, and so little time! >>I know you are new to this blog, Don, but hasn’t it already been shown that the Ed Partnership has been pretty much discredited? Besides, I had heard that they were shutting down soon. – Pat Crowley Discredited by whom? Without credible backup your assertion isn’t anything but is mere speculative propaganda (of course that is one of NEA’s fortes). As for them shutting down, on what basis do you say that? Also, what does that have to do with the credibility of its studies? >>It means that for the first 3rd of a teachers career, they are paid below market level and that the BOSS can replace a retiring or leaving senior teacher with a cheaper one. – Pat Crowley on “steps” I’ve got news for you Pat – there is no “market level” for teachers. You’re in the public sector – you are not subject to market forces. >>But, if your argument is that fairness means reducing everyone to your level instead of raising everyone up to a higher one… well, I guess that is just where the disagreement is. – Pat Crowley Ditto. You are in the public sector. You don’t raise anyone up – you live off of taxes. Nobody in the private sector is going to get a raise because the teachers or the folks at the Registry of Motor Vehicles have, through POLITICAL influence, procured unwarranted pay and benefit packages. Public sector employees should be compensated at a level comparable to those in the private sector of similar skills and work requirements – when they are compensated above that then the taxpayers laboring in the private sector are being unjustly penalized to support the (politically influential) public… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

A couple of clarifications in [ ] to some items that weren’t clear. Sorry for the inconvenience.
“In the private sector, unions can distort [MARKET COMPENSATION] for a while in a competitive environment, and even for a long while in a monopoly / oligopoly situation (think UAW before the imports started competing with the “Big Three” Detroit automakers). Once competition is introduced, above market union compensation / work rules / featherbedding lead to a decline in the unionized employer, and a decline in employment (just look at UAW membership numbers over recent decades).”
“All that said, while one can make an argument [for the existence of unions] in the competitive environment of the private sector, those justifying rationales don’t apply to the non-competitive / non-market parallel universe of the public sector.”

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