Breaking News on Anchor Rising: East Greenwich Teachers to Strike on Tuesday

You heard it here first: East Greenwich teachers will strike on Tuesday morning.
More thoughts on their illegal strike here.
UPDATE: ARE THERE REALLY 8-12% ANNUAL SALARY INCREASES IN THESE CONTRACTS?
Regarding Bob’s comment of “I am certain no one is asking for such high pay increases, as you propose…You might want to get accurate facts before claiming to know all…”
Bob is simply wrong. I sat on the East Greenwich School Committee from 2000-2002 and analyzed teacher salary schedules in contracts from the late 1990’s through 2004. I subsequently looked at the salary schedule for the last 3 year contract.
The salary increases are indeed that high.
I wrote about the hidden nature of these extreme salary increases in this 2004 ProJo editorial.
To further prove the point, here is a portion of my actual 2004 analysis. As noted, it is an Excel spreadsheet analysis and this portion of it is based on data taken from union contracts over a 6-year period: 1998-2004 East Greenwich teacher salary data.
As WJF notes in the Comments section, the Education Partnership has analyzed all teachers’ union contracts in RI in recent years, including looking at salary data. They discuss many aspects of the union contracts in their 3 reports which are linked to in this earlier post.
UPDATE #2: 2003-04 TO 2006-2007 SALARY INCREASE DATA SHOWS SAME HIGH ANNUAL INCREASES
In the Comments section, Ken and Bob asked to see the salary increase data for the last 3 years, 2003-04 to 2006-07.
Here, again in an Excel spreadsheet, is that data: 2003-2006 East Greenwich teacher salary data.
As predicted, salary increases of 9-12%/year for each of the last 3 years were realized by teachers in 8 of the 10 job steps.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON 2004-2005 EAST GREENWICH NEA TEACHERS’ UNION CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS
Now that the NEA is striking at East Greenwich schools in 2007, East Greenwich residents and School Committee leaders can prepare themselves with what is likely to happen now by looking at how the NEA acted in 2004-2005, a time when I did many posts which monitored the NEA’s actions.
This was a summary I wrote at the end of the 2004-2005 contract negotiations:

The formal labor dispute between the residents of East Greenwich and the NEA teachers’ union is now over. However, the dispute showed the true colors of the union and many teachers. With the veneer stripped off, residents have learned many valuable lessons.
First and foremost, we learned – by their practice of work-to-rule – the union and numerous teachers were willing to use our children as pawns in an attempt to avoid a health insurance co-payment. They even had the audacity to say publicly that work-to-rule was not hurting our children.
Second, the union demanded to be made whole financially via full retroactive pay for last year even though our children’s educational experience could not be made whole – due to their work-to-rule actions.
Third, they confirmed how teachers-union contracts are the antithesis of good teaching practices when they stressed that work-to-rule was a contractual right – while at the same time protesting that they wanted us to treat them like professional workers. They stated publicly that before-school and after-school assistance was not part of their job description. They dared us to take them to court if we believed they were not working the legally proper hours.
Fourth, they insulted residents by claiming that a majority of us could afford to hire tutors for our children but have been receiving these services free from public school teachers for years. Teachers also claimed that they – not parents – were responsible for our town’s favorable test scores.
Fifth, they showed how they live in a make-believe world when they said that no one in the private sector works overtime without getting paid and, if they’re off the clock at 5 p.m., you can bet they’re out the door at 5. They also claimed more than 50% of residents earn at least $500,000.
Sixth, we also learned they would make verifiably misleading comments to get what they want, including: (i) Taxes in East Greenwich aren’t that high compared to other communities; (ii) Insurance co-payments would result in pay cuts to teachers; and, (iii) East Greenwich pays lower than other districts.
These are not honorable people. It is clear now that these union negotiations are nothing less than one big racket, rigged to yield financial gain to the union. They certainly are not for the benefit of our children or for excellence in education…
Unfortunately, work-to-rule and other management rights issues are specified in RI General Law, which means it is impossible to change these rules at the local level…

This was an editorial I wrote late in the 2004-2005 process: In a nutshell, here was what I thought the negotiating position of the East Greenwich School Committee should have been on some of the key financial terms of the contract.
Other postings included:
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”
The NEA-Rhode Island’s Pathetic Attempts to Manipulate East Greenwich Residents
What’s Wrong With This Picture: 800 Applicants for 14 Teaching Jobs & the NEA Says There is a Problem

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johnpaycheck
johnpaycheck
14 years ago

so how long would the strike last if you started hiring replacememnts??
i would think that the prospect of a teacher losing a great gig in athe best plalce in ri to reach would be pretty scary..
like maybe the strike would last a few hours???

Bob Smith
Bob Smith
14 years ago

I am certain no one is asking for such high pay increases, as you propose…You might want to get accurate facts before claiming to know all…
Good luck finding so many new teachers who are “highly qualified” according to the requirements demanded by the No Child Left Behind Act and state regulations…and who hold graduate degrees. I wonder what would happen to the high quality of education in East Greenwich if your thoughtful plan was realized?
.

Donald B. Hawthorne
Donald B. Hawthorne
14 years ago

Regarding Bob’s comment of “I am certain no one is asking for such high pay increases, as you propose…You might want to get accurate facts before claiming to know all…”
Bob is simply wrong. I sat on the East Greenwich School Committee from 2002-2004 and analyzed every salary schedule from 1996-2004. I subsequently looked at the salary schedule for the last 3 year contract.
The salary increases are indeed that high.
I wrote about the hidden nature of these extreme salary increases in this 2004 ProJo editorial.

WJF
WJF
14 years ago

At the Chariho District, raises for teachers in the first 10 years range between 6.7 and 21.2 percent. Fourty seven percent of our teachers are in the first 10 years. The average raise for these teachers in 05-06 was 10.7%.
This comes from a report generated by The Education Partnership and reviewed by the Chariho administration for accuracy.
http://cspf.awardspace.com/education_partnership_chariho_co.htm
I believe every district in the state has similar provisions written into the contract.

Susan
Susan
14 years ago

Just out of curiousity…what is the average increase in salary over a ten year period for professionals in other vital occupations? I think it is important to view these statistics in relation to other professions that require similar qualifications and offer comparable important contributions to the community.

Donald B. Hawthorne
Donald B. Hawthorne
14 years ago

In my capacity as a corporate CEO, I look at data sources which track average salary increases for smaller companies (under $50 million/year in revenue) in both New England and across the USA.
The range for salary increases in recent years has typically been 3-4%/year. That range of average salary increases held true from executives down to first line employees. Quite a difference from the 8-12%/year salary increases that EG teachers are getting in 9 of the 10 job steps.
And in my last company, employees paid 25-35% of the company’s cost for health and dental insurances. EG teachers pay different amounts based on their step; I understand their payments range between roughly 4-10%.
East Greenwich currently has an annual $5,000 cash buyback for teachers who do not use the school system’s health insurance plan. I have been told that 68 teachers (which I think is between 25-35% of all teachers) utilize that program in East Greenwich. Not a single corporation I have worked in since 1978 has ever had such a cash buyback program.

Ken
Ken
14 years ago

Please answer Bob’s question with your 2007 numbers and not 2004 numbers.

Donald B. Hawthorne
Donald B. Hawthorne
14 years ago

I will ask for the more recent contract salary schedule and then show the updated analysis.
But it is an academic exercise which won’t change the answer. It will show that 8-12%/year salary increases have been going on for 3 additional years.
Why? Like in all of the earlier years of this decade, all you do is take the 2004 numbers and add about 3%/year to each of the 10 steps.
The bottom line is that adding the same percentage to the salary dollars in all 10 steps in 2004 doesn’t change the implicit increases already built into the 10 steps back then. In other words, it will leave you with the same 8-12%/year increases that existed in prior years. We learned that lesson during all previous contract extension agreements.

Sue
Sue
14 years ago

You mention your job as a corporate CEO… In order to be used as a fair comparison point, I think it would be crucial to state the beginning earnings and final earnings during a ten year period for people working in the business realm. I think it would help to state actual salaries as opposed to percentages. It makes the argument more specific. Interesting that the only numbers you cite are connected to what teachers pay for health care as opposed to what they earn each year. If you have the specific numbers, use them.

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

“In order to be used as a fair comparison point, I think it would be crucial to state the beginning earnings and final earnings during a ten year period for people working in the business realm”
By all means.
And to make this a completely accurate comparison, we only need to do two other things:
> Break out those earnings, including benefits and pension, to a daily or hourly rate – again, strictly in the interest of an accurate comparison;
> identify any other profession which bestows annual raises of 3%-12% hermetically sealed from consideration of merit or accomplishment.

WJF
WJF
14 years ago

We should not ignore the other side of the coin.
I think most people want to pay an excellent teacher an excellent wage. The problem is that unions require equity over fairness. Whatever we pay the best teacher, we must also pay the worst teacher.
When we see an average raise of 3-4% in the private market (as Don noted), within this number are the top performers who make double-digit raises, and also included in this number are the bottom performers who get nothing, or were shown the door. Both of which unions do not allow at public schools.
If you really think we can fire incompetent teachers, do some research on “rubber rooms” in public education. In one of the schools currently on strike there were two people assigned to the copy room (I have heard there is now a third but have not been able to verify). Do you think the employees at Staples making copies earn $36 an hour and have gold plated pensions and health care?

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