Saying “No” to Legalized Extortion

I endorse John’s words in the Comments section of Justin’s post entitled Children Are Their Life? No, Children Are Their Leverage.:

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.

And, as to the NEA’s other favorite tactic of work-to-rule (doing only the absolute legal minimum specified in the contract) – combined with demanding retroactive pay increases – I wrote these words back in 2005 when those were the union actions during the East Greenwich negotiations:

The issues of retroactive pay and “work-to-rule” are at the heart of the dispute in the East Greenwich NEA teachers union contract dispute. The union expects salaries to be made whole via retroactive pay increases. But if the union believes they will get such pay, then they have no incentive to settle the contract for anything less than their one-sided outrageous demands. Yet, in the meantime, our children will not be made whole retroactively for all the times teachers have, due to “work-to-rule,” refused to do the same things for our children that they did in past years. This is an inequitable situation that needs to be rectified.
Therefore, I would like to propose a straightforward settlement offer to the East Greenwich NEA teachers’ union contract dispute:
• Retroactive pay: Tell the union that retroactive pay is off the table now and forever. Actions have consequences and teachers should not be made whole if our children cannot be made whole. Take away any incentive for the union to continue its refusal to negotiate in good faith and make time their enemy, not ours.
• Taking care of our children: Take some or all of the funds originally set aside in the budget for retroactive pay and dedicate those funds to paying for outside help, including tutors, for our children. In other words, let’s take control of the situation and make our children whole from this day forward…

Parents will support such aggressive actions because they are in the best interests of their children.
Taxpayers will support such aggressive actions because they protect the standard of living of working families and retirees in the community.
And while we are at it, Just Say No to (i) 9-12% annual salary increases; (ii) healthcare co-pays less than 25%; (iii) cash buybacks of any kind for not using health insurance plans; (iv) dollar caps or dollar offsets elsewhere in the contract to offset higher co-pays, etc.; and, (v) rich pension plans.
They need to start living like the rest of us, the people who pay their salaries and benefits. See more here, here, and here.
In other words, Just Say No to union actions which amount to nothing but a form of legalized extortion of hard-working Americans.

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Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

There is no Constitutional right for teachers unions to exist in Rhode Island. They have permission to darken our State via statutory authorization, enacted circa 1966. (Excerpts from those statutes appear below.) The Democrat General Assembly, with the proverbial “stroke of the pen” could revoke that permission, i.e., merely by repealing a couple of statutes. In one fell swoop the whole problem of teacher strikes, work to rule, dysfunctional work rules, children being held hostage to negotiations, etc. could be eliminated. With that proverbial stroke of the pen the Democrat General Assembly could take the prerequisite first step toward elevating Rhode Island’s public education system out of its current less-than-mediocre state and vault it toward achieving world-class status. Think about this next time you hear one of our Rhode Island Democrats talking about their commitment to high “quality education” and concern for “our childrens’ future.” We know their rhetoric – we’ve been hearing it for decades – but so long as they refuse to boot the teachers unions from our State we know where their priorities and loyalties really lie – the teacher union campaign support money train. Statutes: § 16-2-9 General powers and duties of school committees (25) (b) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to limit or interfere with the rights of teachers and other school employees to collectively bargain pursuant to chapters 9.3 and 9.4 of title 28 or to allow any school committee to abrogate any agreement reached by collective bargaining. § 28-9.3-1 Declaration of policy – Purpose (b) It is declared to be the public policy of this state to accord to certified public school teachers the right to organize, to be represented, to negotiate professionally, and to bargain on a collective basis with school committees covering hours, salary, working conditions, and other terms… Read more »

johnpaycheck
johnpaycheck
13 years ago

burriville was the perfect acanrio.. only 203 teachers.. i figure as soon as you start hiring replacemnts, at least half the teachers would be making a beeline back to the classroom even with a 20% paycut…i mean, who could walk away from this gig. the other hundred could be hired from all the teachers that are not working but really WANT to.
and if you stay out of the state retirement system, i guess you could pick up soem retirees.
i would love to see it.
it would destroy the nea in ri and i think the schools may be better.

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