Residents Should Stop Paying That Much for This

In a town that has witnessed nearly a 12% increase in property taxes in the past year, this sort of thing should get the union-busting, pink-slip-preparing blood boiling:

[Johnston teachers] were a no-show on Monday at Winsor Hill School’s open house, an event where they typically meet parents and fill them in on their instructional plans, officials said yesterday.

School Committees should begin taking these unconscionable actions as justification for rewriting contracts to fit budgets and handing them to union leaders with hand-written “take it or leave” notes attached. Believe you me that plenty a private-sector employee is aware of the number of job inquiries floating around the executive office. The arrogance of the unions’ tactics when taxpayers are already being pinched and when Rhode Islanders increasingly feel lucky to be working at all is simply appalling.

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James L.
James L.
12 years ago

Or why don’t school committees counter these “work to rule” actions by the union by putting these things into contracts. By now, they must know most of the things that will be dropped by work to rule, so simply put those things in the contract. Student advisement, parent teacher nights, detention hall, monitoring lunch hour, monitoring dismissal, being available for extra help, class advisors…put it all in the contract so then when they don’t do those things, they’re in violation of their contract. Make everything a part of the job. Or do what happens in private industry in so many other job descriptions, “and other duties as assigned”.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
12 years ago

James,
Do you mean make them act like professionals? You know they aren’t going to do that; they are a bunch of low-life bloodsucking scumbags that don’t deserve one ounce of respect. Think a bunch of factory workers punching a clock running a business into the ground – like Ford and GM. That is all these teacher union maggots are.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

You know Justin-you are young, healthy, white and have kids. How many times do you have to be told there is no future for you in this “progressive” sewer. Get OUT of the state.
Are you a masochist?
Even at my age I am, as a dual citizen, fondling my shiny red EU passport with greater fondness these days.
Look for another $300 million deficit for FY 10-and look for more smoke and mirror solutions from both the governor and the GA.

Anthony
Anthony
12 years ago

8.5% unemployment and rising.
A declining population.
Historic budget deficits that are growing.
Dwindling tax revenues.
Already high sales and income taxes.
No evidence of any major employers set to enter the state.
Even the Projo had to force people out. If people don’t have jobs and are leaving the state, they sure aren’t going to be buying newspapers.
And the Johnston teachers aren’t satisfied with their contract? They’ve got some of the only safe jobs left in the state.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

When will Taxpayer’s get fed up with these “Do it for the Children” Union Hacks and support the long over due Reagan style whole-sale firing of these “workers”.
We need one School Committee with a back-bone to goad them into a Strike and then immediately fire them, canceling their precious and near free health benefits.
Then, from the smoldering ruins, start over again with employees that actually want to work for a living.
Perhaps we need a Gov. to show us the way by decimating Council 94 via layoffs.
I guess we’ll have to wait for Steve Laffey before anything meaningful gets done. Until then, we’ll have to settle for endless “studies”, meaningless & toothless rhetoric and high taxes coupled with massive deficits.

Phil
Phil
12 years ago

So Johnston teachers are not doing work that they are not required to do. (That means that almost every other district in RI has professional educators doing work that they are not paid for.) I quess it’s not hard to imagine Justin jumping at the masters command but I for one don’t play that. If I choose to return to work after hours or decided to do extra with no extra compensation then it is on me. The problem that I read in most of these posts that go on about the private sector work rules is that you’ve allowed the bosses this kind of power. How are these masters of capitalism doing now?
Instead of being critical of the tactics and the resolve of the unionized teachers you should be taking notes.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
12 years ago

Phil,
Every time I talk with a teacher, they lament the fact that they get “no respect.” Another frequent complaint is that they want to be treated like “professionals.”
Now I know this sounds foreign to you, probably because you also are a union slob, but all the professionals that I know do not have contracts that define what they do. Nor, do they have “hours”; they have a job to do and they get it done. Their job isn’t finished until they have fixed the problem. They don’t get overtime, comp time or anything else. That is the essence of being a professional.
The teachers you talk about are a bunch of greedy, lazy bums. They are not professionals in any sense of the word. They do not deserve an ounce of respect. They are doing to American education just what the UAW has done to the American automobile industry – they are running it into the ground.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Mike – you hit the nail on the head. More succinctly, they are “Doing it for the Children”.
Phil – “Masters of capitalism”??
you really need to drop the Union talking points.
What we are talking about is the fact that we have Taxpayers that are getting up and going to work each day to earn an honest living, while having to carry on their backs a group of Entitlement-minded, Recession-proof, spoiled brats that have Zero work ethic and not an ounce of professionalism in their souls.
When you have teachers who, after just 9 years in their career, arebeing paid $69,000+ per year for “working” just 7 hours per day for only 185 days a year (which is the private-sector equivalent of earning $102,000 per year), plus near free health care refusing to show up for such events, it screams volumes to what is wrong with Public education and the Teachers’ Union.
How many “professionals” in the private sector do you know that earn $102,000 per year plus near free healthcare after just 9 years in their profession? And how many of them are recession proof?
Face it Phil. The Teachers Union is Philled with lazy, spoiled brats that wouldn’t survive a week in the real world.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

There’s no need to personalize and universalize the attack on teachers. There is certainly a range of attitudes among them, certainly a range of feelings about how they’d like to behave, and one of the insidious qualities of unionization is the degree to which it makes all employees subject to thuggish pressures and aggression.
But fine, Phil, let the teachers be paid hourly. And let them come to the taxpayers requesting contracts paying them rates of $65-70 per hour.
Open houses and parent/teacher nights are part of our school system and have been at least through my entire life. It’s expected. It’s part of the job.
There comes a point in certain fields — and I’d suggest that education is one of them — at which every necessary activity cannot be itemized.

mikeinRI
mikeinRI
12 years ago

Exactly Justin. The behavior of the union in Johnston only makes for certain that at some point, the Open House will become part of the contract. It was adopted in my district’s contract this year. Unions are forcing districts to itemize everything. If it’s not in the contact, it’s not considered part of the job. All flexibility has been lost. This is precisely how unions are destroying public education.
This teacher would have been at the Open House.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

“There’s no need to personalize and universalize the attack on teachers.”
Is there nothing more “personal” than the Teachers’ Union’s tactics (and that of their member Teachers) that are damaging the education of Taxpayer’s children?
Make no mistake, our collective disdain for the Teachers’ Union is not personal with respect to individual teachers. Rather, the disdain is for the Union and all that it respresents.
That being said, at some point, we must hold accountable the actions of the individual teachers that enable the Unions to run roughshod over the Children’s interests, as well as the Taxpayer’s ability to pay.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Well, I can certainly understand rhetorical excesses, but it’s difficult to square a description of union members as “lazy, spoiled brats that wouldn’t survive a week in the real world” with the protestation that the attack is “not personal with respect to individual teachers.”

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

“lazy, spoiled brats that wouldn’t survive a week in the real world” was in reference to the lazy Group / mob of Union slobs that failed to show up at the Open House.
I consider “personalized” to be a rant more targeted at an individual.
But me thinks we are slicing BS with a scaple.
The point is that our frustration is with the UNIONs, not individual Teachers.
We all know that, but for the Union, they wouldn’t behave in a manner that earns them the collective description of “lazy, spoiled brats that wouldn’t survive a week in the real world.”
Ask yourself how long you (or anyone else in the Private sector making an honest living) would be able to stay employed (or continue to attract paying customers) if you behaved as the Teachers’ Union members do, with their chicken-crap “work to rule” nonsense.
The answer is that you’d be short a paycheck in a very short period of time.

John
John
12 years ago

Let’s be honest. Put a few drinks into 80% of the public school teachers in this state and they’ll admit to you — in private and off the record of course — that they know what’s going on. But all of them fear the consequences of standing up to Walsh, Purtill, Reback, Crowley and the 20% of rabidly pro-union teachers (often those who perform worst in the classroom) who would make their lives hell if they did. Easier to either leave the “profession” or just keep your mouth shut and go along, regardless of the consequences for the children.
There is a word for these people: cowards. Or perhaps, “professional cowards” if they prefer that term. But let’s not fear clearly naming the elephant in the room when we talk about our “respect” for teachers and “issues” with their unions.

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“Put a few drinks into 80% of the public school teachers in this state and they’ll admit to you — in private and off the record of course — that they know what’s going on. But all of them fear the consequences of standing up to Walsh, Purtill, Reback, Crowley and the 20% of rabidly pro-union teachers (often those who perform worst in the classroom) who would make their lives hell if they did.”
Exactly right. I’ve heard that first and second hand many times.
James L is correct. The ultimate responsibility for the sort of nonsense going on in Johnston and previously in Warwick and other school districts lies with the governing authorities – the school committees who execute these disadvantageous contracts and the city/town councils who fund them. (These in turn are elected by uninformed or misguided voters who are frankly delusional about what they expect to get by electing Democrats.)

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

I can’t believe people in here are blaming individual teachers.
Ever stop and think that this kind of individually targeted abuse is why they join (and support) a union in the first place? Sounds very HUAC to me, and counterproductive.
Maybe these people should fight back as individuals, not as part of a union action.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Rhody,
I don’t see anyone blaming individual teachers. Rather the blame is being put where it belongs, on the Union.
That being said, the whole is equal to the sum of the parts.
So, to the extent that individual teachers are being blamed (which I don’t think they are at this point), they ultimately deserve it, as they ultimately are the Union.
Out of curiousity, who do you suggest we blame for the nonsense of their “work to rule” tactics? The already over-taxed Taxpayer?

Phil
Phil
12 years ago

Most of the comments here are vile. There are too many to go through.
I think that as a tactic “work to rule” is counter productive.
Parents and students should not be the ones adversly effected by disagreements with school committees.
There is frustration for teachers when issuses of compensation are used politically by any number of people (politicians, school committee types who aspire to political careers)
I think that “work to rule” is a bad idea.
Again most of the teachers in this state are now teaching children and meeting with parents and doing all the things that communities have come to expect without specific contractual obligation. I call that professional.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Phil,
Glad to see that you are in agreement on the inappropriateness of “work to rule” tactics.
Perhaps you could convince NEA-RI Exec. Director Bob Walsh of this, because the fact of the matter is that this practice is used in EVERY district accross the state at contract “negotiating” time.
With respect to teacher’s frustrations over compensation issues, I can’t imagine why people who, after just 9 years in their profession and who work only 185 7-hour days a year, earn an annual salary of at least $69,000 (the Private Sector equivalent of $102,000+) in addition to near free healthcare and a Pension that allows them to Retire in their 50s, not to mention an innumerable number of Sick days and ZERO accountability with respect to merit or performance (as they all get paid the same, no matter how good or bad they are).
But, if someone is “frustrated” with their compensation, they are free to leave tomorrow and go find another job that will pay them what they believe they deserve.
Unfortunately, our UNION teachers are too spineless an unprofessional to do that. Instead, they hang around, whine, wear silly tee-shirts distributed by Bob Walsh’s nutless monkey (Pat Crowley), work to rule and hold the Children’s education hostage.
Hence, the anger and frustration of the public, as evidenced by the “vile” comments.

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“There is frustration for teachers when issuses of compensation are used politically by any number of people (politicians, school committee types who aspire to political careers)”
Why would that be, Phil? For decades, yes, Democrats have used teacher compensation for political gain. But contrary to your statement, they have used it in a manner that has considerably advantaged teachers. Witness: teacher compensation in Rhode Island is in the top fifth while school and student performance is in the bottom fifth.
In fact, any candidate or elected official who now tries to close that gap does so at his or her own political peril. But it is vital that this be done, quite literally “for the children”.

Anthony
Anthony
12 years ago

If teachers’ unions want to itemize their responsibilities, then there should be a move to an hourly wage. If you need to define “scope of work” to the letter, it’s not a profession.
Also, most professions of which I’m aware require (not optional) continuing education. If a teacher is being paid for a year, they should spend the summer months working to help themselves become better teachers, not working a second job to make more $$$ or using the summer months as 3 months of paid vacation.
There is no shortage of teachers. In fact, a line of applicants queques up any time there is an open position in a public school system. This fact alone indicates that salaries and benefits are inflated.
If teachers want to be treated like professionals, they should behave like professionals. If teachers want to act like hourly wage earners, they should be paid as hourly wage earners.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>If teachers want to be treated like professionals, they should behave like professionals. If teachers want to act like hourly wage earners, they should be paid as hourly wage earners.
They want the “prestige” that accompanies true professionals / professionalism, but by being unionized oppose the very things inherent in achieving professional status:
Rigorous training before entering the profession (education programs are notorious for laxity, not rigor);
Individual dedication to, and accountability for, individual performance;
Willingness to compete with peers (internally for promotions, bonuses, etc.) and externally (competitive product / service providers).
Willingness to be exposed to failure (e.g., termination by employers or clients) if your performance is not up to snuff.
Unionized public school teachers avoid these things, and do no deserve to be regarded as professionals. They have a choice – be professionals, or remain within the protective shell of the union. So far, they have been choosing the latter, so by default have also chosen to cling to a much lower rung of prestige and public esteem.
As far as the preceding discussions re: “attacks” on individual teachers, consider that in a unionized environment there really are no individual teachers. They’ve also given that up in order to cling to the coddling lower rung of unionization. They are no longer individuals, but “dues units” within the collective, distinguished from each other only by their relative seniority and nothing else.
So if a particular unit takes offense at the criticism, they should look in the mirror and note that union label staring back at them.

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

Personally, I don’t like work to rule – the kids should not have to suffer because of the political feuds of adults. I’d rather see the teachers go on the offensive against the politicians, talk radio hosts and callers, etc. who have blown this whole dispute up.
Teachers should attack the real source of the problems. If they’re being called out personally, they should respond personally.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Rhody,
You wrote “Teachers should attack the real source of the problems”.
Any chance of you letting us know (1) what you perceive the problem tp be and (2) what you perceive to be the “real source” of that problem?
From my perspective, the problem is that we have a Union Teacher corp that long ago stopped living in reality, that cares little about “teaching” and educating students, that spends more time and energy trying to reduce their level of work effort (while increasing their compensation) than they ever spend actually teaching, and that has, as a result of the forementioned, lost the respect of the public at large to the point that it is a self-fulfilling circle jerk (the Union Teachers do the Union thing, the Public get’s appropriately pissed and loses all respect for them, thus reinforcing the F’em attiditude of the Union as promulgated by NEA-RI’s Executive Director Bob Walsh’s assistant, Pat “The Finger” Crowley).
The obvious Source of the Problem is the UNION, that for its own self-sustaining interests, attempts to brainwash its dues paying members into believing that it is them against the world. The Union leadership prints up nut-bag Tee-shirts with silly messages to garner the Entitlement mentality that has led to Poor Performing Schools that are financially Unsustainable and the employment of Entitlement minded hacks that hold students’ educations hostage, while walking around with placards that say “Ignore the Free Market, Ignore the Piss-poor Performance, Ignore what you can Afford and just Pay us more. Do it for the Children”

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

C’mon, George, don’t tell me that if you (or your profession) was being scapegoating for the state’s economic and social problems, you wouldn’t want to fight it, too.
The teachers aren’t getting a juicy contract (I’m a taxpayer, too, and I can’t afford a big raise for them). Face it, your side won. Or is holding the line on salaries and benefits not enough anymore?

Bill
Bill
12 years ago

Rhody,
“scapegoated”, “our side won” Are you nuts? I have two kids in the public schools and our teachers just settled their contracts after a year of “work to rule” They didn’t get a “juicy” contract…bulls#^t! They got everything they wanted and were made whole, why, after not doing a thing for my kids all year. How do my kids get “made whole” for the year they lost? I heard firsthand from one of their teachers that they didn’t agree with what the union was making them do but the peer pressure was too enormous for them to stand up against the union or their “professional” peers. I find that answer by the teacher as an individual…gutless. The teachers are so lucky to even have jobs and they have the audacity to cry and say they deserve more? Who these days has summers off or even weekends at this rate? FIRE them all and let them see what we all go through every day. Let them feel the anxiety of not knowing if their job or limited benefits are secure. Let them go to work and tell their boss that they aren’t going to do something because it wasn’t in a contract…are you kidding? How does anyone in their right minds justify any of this? MAKE THEM RESPONSIBLE. FIRE THEM. Their jobs should be twelve month positions like every other person in the world! Wake up and “F” Them!

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>C’mon, George, don’t tell me that if you (or your profession) was being scapegoating for the state’s economic and social problems, you wouldn’t want to fight it, too.

Laughable. Schools are 70-80% of a municipal budget, and salaries / benefits 70-80% (if not more when one factors in things such as municipal “contributions” to the state pension system on behalf of teachers).
Follow the money. This ain’t scapegoating, it’s the public beginning to awake to the expensive scam that is being foisted upon them and, in the case of many seniors, threatening their ability to stay in their homes.
>>The teachers aren’t getting a juicy contract (I’m a taxpayer, too, and I can’t afford a big raise for them). Face it, your side won. Or is holding the line on salaries
Laughable again. Beyond base salary increases (which still go up every year), compensation increases are baked-in with step increases, pension increases (a lifetime of more $ for every year on the “job”), and increases in health care premiums covered by the taxpayers.
All this for a part-time job, and remarkably poor performance on the part of the collective of self-described “professionals.”

Bill
Bill
12 years ago

New numbers just in…48,800 people in RI out of work…8.5% unemployment rate, largest in 20 years. With those stats, how in the world do these imbeciles think that they should be paid more for doing less and less? I guarantee that if you were to FIRE every last one of them, there would be plenty of people very willing and probably alot more able to fill their shoes! They need to be taught a lesson that they too need to live within their/our means. I don’t need to bust my ass every day so that they don’t have to!

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Rhody,
What is up with you?
Can’t you ever respond without giving the Bob Walsh non-response?
You originally wrote: “Teachers should attack the real source of the problems”.
So please tell us what the “problem” is and what the “real source” of that problem is.
When Union hacks “work to rule” and demand annual salary increases that range between 7% and 15% (or more) for the majority of their members, and refuse to share in the ever increasing cost of their healthcare, is it not fair that the public expresses outrage?
With respect to “holding the line on salary & benefits”, what exactly are you referring to?
Many, many people in the Private sector are getting ZERO raises (pay freezes) and reduced benefits, along with more work.
So please tell us what school district has “held the line on salary & benefits”. What school district is NOT providing 7% to 15% or more raises for ALL Union members within Steps 1 thru 9? Name us a school district that has had a salary freeze?

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

George, the problem is the wholesale attacks on the profession (not just involving contracts and fiscal matters). The forces of the community have been rallied against teachers; do you really think they’re still getting big raises? Any official who votes to give them any kind of a raise at all is going to be slimed on the radio, letters to the editor, etc.
It’s an attack culture these days, and one has to fight to maintain what he or she has. Believe me, I didn’t get a raise this year, either, and I’m in a private sector job where my employer is frequently attacked.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Rhody, Yes, I do believe (and know) they are still getting big raises. Look at the contracts. The fact of the matter is that the Unions have done a superb job of keeping alive the myth of Low teacher pay and too many gullible folks gobble up their false rhetoric. They are helped by a compliant and incompetant press that reports that contracts provide 3% or 3.5% raises, when in fact, the raises doled out are between 7% and 15+% for all but one group of teachers (i.e. Step 10 Teachers). The Union’s and their go-along herd of mindless dues paying sheep have no one to blame but themselves if they are being “attacked”, as they have been attacking the Taxpayer’s wallets for years without any resistance. Now, Taxpayers have had enough and have nothing more left to give, so the hacks pull stunts like “work to rule”. The fact is that after just 9 years of employment, Union Teachers in RI earn ~$70,000 per year to work 185 7-hour days (including lunch), which is the Private-sector equivalent of $103,000+. How many “professionals” do you know that earn in excess of $100k per year after just 9 years on the job? The Average Union Teacher salary in RI is ~$54,000 (kept low because the Unions feed on their own by keeping the first year teachers so low on the pay scale). The median RI HOUSEHOLD income (i.e. the income of ALL earners in the household) is ~ $53,000. Thus, ONE Union Teacher earns more than the ENTIRE household of many RI households. In addition they receive near free health-care, ludicrous Pensions and absolute job-security (they are recession proof and immune to outsourcing). You yourself have endure a pay freeze. Do you know any Union Teachers that have ever gone without… Read more »

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Rhody, Yes, I do believe (and know) they are still getting big raises. Look at the contracts. The fact of the matter is that the Unions have done a superb job of keeping alive the myth of Low teacher pay and too many gullible folks gobble up their false rhetoric. They are helped by a compliant and incompetant press that reports that contracts provide 3% or 3.5% raises, when in fact, the raises doled out are between 7% and 15+% for all but one group of teachers (i.e. Step 10 Teachers). The Union’s and their go-along herd of mindless dues paying sheep have no one to blame but themselves if they are being “attacked”, as they have been attacking the Taxpayer’s wallets for years without any resistance. Now, Taxpayers have had enough and have nothing more left to give, so the hacks pull stunts like “work to rule”. The fact is that after just 9 years of employment, Union Teachers in RI earn ~$70,000 per year to work 185 7-hour days (including lunch), which is the Private-sector equivalent of $103,000+. How many “professionals” do you know that earn in excess of $100k per year after just 9 years on the job? The Average Union Teacher salary in RI is ~$54,000 (kept low because the Unions feed on their own by keeping the first year teachers so low on the pay scale). The median RI HOUSEHOLD income (i.e. the income of ALL earners in the household) is ~ $53,000. Thus, ONE Union Teacher earns more than the ENTIRE household of many RI households. In addition they receive near free health-care, ludicrous Pensions and absolute job-security (they are recession proof and immune to outsourcing). You yourself have endure a pay freeze. Do you know any Union Teachers that have ever gone without… Read more »

Bill
Bill
12 years ago

I still can’t figure out how there is even ONE person who can argue on behalf of these scumbags. How does a group feel that in these economic times, they should continue to be enriched with raises and lower health care contributions, while the people that provide those raises are working their asses off to support their own households and families? Also, as an aside, why do we keep paying for these “professionals” when they keep churning out kids that can’t read, write, do math and now apparently they can’t do Science. Anyone see the news last night on the Science test figures? A paltry 17% of highschoolers are proficient enough to pass Science. I wish I could go to work and turn out substandard work yet keep being compensated, rather well I might add. As for attacking teachers…when did one of them ever come forward against the Union and strike against the unfair practices that they are supposedly forced to comply with? The teachers are out for themselves and show it more than ever during this time of crisis! FIRE THEM ALL…SCUMBAGS!

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