Negotiating Child Abuse
So what are the odds of this becoming law?
Amending state law to clearly prohibit strikes is the task force’s first recommendation. If Carcieri supports the plan as expected, he would have to ask lawmakers to submit the bill to the General Assembly for a vote.
Officials at the state Department of Education researched tougher labor laws in Pennsylvania and New York when crafting the amendments, according to Deputy Education Commissioner David V. Abbott. One amendment would force teachers who strike to pay a penalty of two days’ pay into a state school fund for every day on strike. When teachers strike now, they suffer no financial consequences.
The changes also would prohibit strikes and expand the definition to include “any strike or other concerted job action commonly referred to as ‘work to rule’ including, without limitation, any stoppage of work, slowdown or curtailment of one more customary teaching practices that are typically provided or performed by teachers in the absence of a strike.” Superintendents and principals told the task force they consider “work-to-rule” actions more detrimental to students than strikes, as the action can drag on for years, as it did in Warwick. West Warwick, Tiverton and East Greenwich have also recently experienced periods of “work-to-rule,” also called “contract compliance.”
Teacher strikes and work-to-rule aren’t “negotiation tactics”; they’re extortionary child abuse. They take advantage of children’s innocence and taxpayers’ lack of choice concerning schooling.
Although he’s obviously not banned or vocally denounced strikes and work-to-rule within his own organization, the NEA’s Bob Walsh says (in the Projo’s paraphrase) that he “prefers third-party binding arbitration.” No doubt he does! Put the contracts in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, and everybody else can disclaim responsibility for the crushing increases in government spending.
Want an alternative to strikes and work-to-rule? How about teachers individually negotiate with their employers to reach agreements that reflect their actual value to the district, as well as the district’s value to them?