Update on the East Greenwich Teachers’ Contract & Suggested Future Actions
Here is the latest on the East Greenwich School District teachers’ contract status:
The NEA voted last Thursday to let their negotiating team call a strike.
The current contract expired last Friday.
There was a special School Committee meeting last Saturday.
Tuesday is the first day of school.
Teachers are paid prospectively and, because of the strike vote on Thursday, were not paid last Friday for work that they may or may not choose to do in the first weeks of September.
In this time of no extra public monies, I hope the community is willing to support an aggressive stance by the School Committee toward the NEA’s greedy demands. If the teachers actually strike on Tuesday, here is what I hope the School Committee will do:
Do NOT go to court to force them back.
Let the current teachers stay at home and remain unpaid. (Since the teachers are legally required to teach 180 days in a school year, staying at home only postpones their work year but does not shorten it.)
Give these teachers an ultimatum: It is illegal in RI for teachers to strike so every teacher who doesn’t voluntarily return to work by Friday morning of this week is terminated.
Post job openings on Friday for all teaching positions which are unfilled on that day. (Just think of all the teachers in RI who would love to teach in East Greenwich!)
Hire new teachers for all openings.
If faced with work-to-rule after the teachers return, immediately declare all retroactive pay is off the table forever under any new contract. Immediately apply the funds which would have been used for such pay to hiring tutors for the children so their educational experience is made whole in spite of the teachers’ actions.
In the meantime, I hope the School Committee rallies support in the community by letting the community see the NEA union for what it is. The NEA is not about our children. The NEA is not about education. It is only about adult entitlements for union members, about outrageous contractual costs which can no longer be afforded.
There are no more tax monies available to pay for 8-12%/year salary increases, anything less than 25% healthcare co-payments, or more than $1,000 cash buyback payments for not using health insurance. The gravy train ride is over.
Can you imagine if each of the 7 School Committee members went to 10 home meetings over the next 3 weeks to explain School & Tax Economics 101 to town residents? That would be 70 meetings and, if 20 people could attend each meeting, the School Committee would have directly reached over 1,400 of the 13,000 people in town. Add in spouses of attendees who would likely hear about the meeting afterwards and then another 1-2 friends for each home meeting attendee and the School Committee would have reached about 50% of the town before the end of September.
The NEA and its members need to join the real world where taxpayers live every day. Salaries and benefits just like the rest of us, the working families and retirees who pay for their compensation. It is all we ask.