The Continuing NEA Disinformation Campaign in East Greenwich: Lies, More Lies & Even Some Melodrama

The NEA disinformation campaign continues.
It is so patheticly transparent that it should be funny. But it is hard to laugh when they willingly and consciously exploit our children as pawns in their game of greed.
However, just like we saw during the collapse of the Iron Curtain, technology allows us to immediately skewer the outmoded NEA playbook and point out their lies and deceit.
The latest NEA-East Greenwich Letter contains lies, more lies and even some melodrama:

An Open Letter to East Greenwich Residents:
East Greenwich Teachers returned to school on August 30, participating fully and enthusiastically in our jobs. On Friday, August 31, we were scheduled to receive a paycheck according to the town payroll schedule. We did not. Why? We don’t know. Our representatives were negotiating a contract as state law permits us to do. But apparently the school committee and school department who represent the Town of East Greenwich do not believe in the right to collective bargaining, as granted by state law. In a blatant act of coercion, the school department simply decided not to pay us. Citizens of East Greenwich, is this the way you want your elected officials to treat the educators who care for your children?
We were there when your children forgot their lunch money and we made sure they ate. We were there when your children didn’t have a ride home, and we made certain they were safe. We were there when your children called us at 10pm because they didn’t know where else to turn for help. We have been here from their first day jitters through their post graduate plans.
We have been and will continue to be there for your children. We believe you care. Please do not allow your school committee to dismantle and destroy one of the best things about this town. They have created an environment of intimidation and demoralization amongst the teachers that will not resolve itself for a very, very long time. Please consider what we have meant to your children. Please pick up the phone and demand that the school committee engage in good faith bargaining – regardless of what you believe the contract should read. Fair and reasonable people understand that contract negotiations in a civilized society cannot take place under coercion.
The teachers have been working extremely hard in an effort to achieve a fair settlement. A cut in pay to go back to work is not a fair settlement. The school committee forced the teachers to not report to work by refusing to bargain on Monday night. Those representing the school committee did not have the authority to reach agreement. They would not call other school committee members who were not present in order to gain that authorization.
It is the union’s wish to reach settlement as quickly as possible.
Thank you for supporting the quality education your children deserve.

You would think the Kremlin’s former press office had taken over the communications function for the NEARI! With about as much success and professionalism.
The East Greenwich School Committee has issued a September 6 press release (Word document) response to the NEA letter:

The East Greenwich School Committee continues to be disappointed and frustrated that the East Greenwich teachers’ union has decided to continue their strike and refuse to return to school. We are proceeding with court action to force the teachers back to the classrooms based on our concern that our students are suffering irreparable harm due to their actions. It is our hope that the judge will agree with us and order the teachers back to work. The Committee will continue to pursue negotiations with the teacher’s union.
The School Committee has been actively involved in the negotiation process since February, designating Superintendent, Charlie Meyers, as our representative with full authority to act on our behalf in order to reach an agreement at any point in the negotiation process. At every negotiation and mediation session, Superintendent Meyers has had full authority to reach an agreement on behalf of the School Committee.
While constantly involved and informed over the status of the negotiations, school committee members joined the mediation process, in person, to offer support to Superintendent Meyers in reaching an agreement. Unfortunately, we have offered multiple proposals that have consistently been rejected by the teachers’ union and they have not offered any substantial compromise in return.
The School Committee was notified by the teachers’ union on Wednesday, August 29th, that their members would strike if no agreement was reached. We asked, twice, for a clarification of this through the mediator. Our hope was that they would return to school, while continuing negotiations. The union officials confirmed, through the mediator, that they would strike without a contract. Since the teachers are paid two weeks in advance, it was determined that we could not pay people for not working. The scheduled pay period for the first two weeks of the new school year was scheduled for August 31st. We felt it was a prudent decision to withhold the advanced payment of wages until we knew for certain the teachers would be back to work. Teachers were paid for all summer work. Out of concern for their families, we notified the teachers’ union through the mediator on Wednesday, August 29, that we would be withholding paychecks because we could not pay anyone for not working.
The School Committee will continue to act in fairness and good faith with the teachers’ union and will endeavor to bring them back to the negotiating table. We will also continue to do what is in the best interests of our children and our community.

The NEA is on the wrong side of history and they tell lies.
Anchor Rising is THE place to go for information on the teachers’ strikes issues in Rhode Island. See the Extended Entry for all relevant links.

To get up to speed, here are the links – in chronological order – to other Anchor Rising posts about the East Greenwich teachers’ strike and the NEA:
Saying “No” to Legalized Extortion
Education Partnership Reports: Learning a lot more about RI teachers’ union contracts
Reflecting on Labor Unions on Labor Day
Update on the East Greenwich Teachers’ Contract & Suggested Future Actions
Breaking News on Anchor Rising: East Greenwich Teachers to Strike on Tuesday
More on the Issues in the East Greenwich Teachers’ Union Strike (This is a particularly important post on the substantive issues in dispute.)
The NEA’s Latest Disinformation Campaign in East Greenwich
Sometimes What is Old is New: Misguided Incentives Drive Public Sector Taxation
East Greenwich School Committee: Press Release & General Update
Other relevant posts on Anchor Rising include:
Burrillville Teachers to Students: Let the Pawns Skip School
Crowley, You Charmer
Researching from Outside the Library
Children Are Their Life? No, Children Are Their Leverage.
Citizen Context for Negotiations
One Side of the Phone Conversation
My Favorite Samuel Gompers Quote
The Guidebook to Public-Abuse
Not Quite Breaking (Except of Taxpayers’ Backs)
The Other Side of the Conversation in Tiverton
The Rhode Island Right’s Bizarro Politics
A Case of Crossed Hands
Best We Can Do Is Get Involved Every Time
The Continuing Saga of the Funding Formula Distraction — A Tale of Two Cities
(The last three posts in this section address the important questions of (i) what RI law and court decisions say about teachers’ strikes; (ii) the tax cap and level funding of education; and, (iii) statewide education funding formula.)

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16 years ago

Just a thought, since the nastiness between the two sides has hit fever pitch:
What if the teachers decided to go back to work Monday without a contract, with negotiations continuing and the sniping between both sides still in full force? Kids are going to ask the teachers what the Sam Hill is going on, and teachers are not going to let schoo, board members, radio talkers or bloggers prevent them from answering their questions.
Is everyone better off if school is cancelled until this is settled (either through the signing of a contract or the hiring of replacement teachers)?

16 years ago

You’ve got to admit that these teacher unions are quite practiced in the art of misleading media spin. First they lie, then they exert a strong tug on parent’s heartstrings, then they lie some more. Perfect combination!

16 years ago

crowley was on dan yorke this afternoon. yorke was awful. had done no research. he had no facts and figures. just rhetoric which played well into crowleys hand.
york did the cause a disservice with his lack of homework.

16 years ago

“since the nastiness between the two sides has hit fever pitch”
Where is the nastiness by the school committees, Rhody? The only nastiness (punctuated by an embarrassingly cloy and transparent open letter) is by the public labor unions, and this because they have no facts to back up their position.

Tom W
Tom W
16 years ago

Great point SusanD.
When one reads the posts on this topic for the last few weeks, what is MOST TELLING to me are the posts / points made that Walsh / Crowley CHOOSE NOT TO RESPOND TO.
As, presumably, they would effectively counter if they could, their silence speaks volumes.
But I don’t envy them (but neither do I excuse them) – for they are attempting to defend the indefensible. After all, they are involved with, and represent, an organization that is doing incalculable harm to an entire future generation (due to teacher unions’ imposition of, and vehement protection of, mediocrity in education). Franky. I don’t know how they can look at themselves in the mirror.

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