C.F. Teachers Union: Two, Four, Six, Eight; When in Doubt, Litigate!

From yesterday’s ProJo 7 to 7 News Blog.

The Central Falls Teachers’ Union filed three unfair labor practice charges with the state Labor Relations Board Monday, its first move to appeal the mass firings of 93 teachers, support staff and administrators at the city’s only high school.

And the basis for the charges?

Marcia Reback, president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers, which represents Central Falls, said the local filed three charges against Central Falls school district: failure to negotiate; refusal to provide information to the union; and the terminations themselves.

This seems pretty easy to dispense with.
1. Central Falls did, in fact, negotiate with the union, earnestly and at length.
2. You can’t negotiate without providing information.
3. Terminations are the natural conclusion to unsuccessful negotiations IF the ultimate goal – a good education, for example – is something more than perpetual employment at an ever rising price.
Who is ultimately to blame for these unsuccessful negotiations is a separate matter. By refusing to put this matter to a vote of its members, it is the C.F. teachers union which is to blame. That they failed to put it to a vote has turned out to be a bad mistake, one that the union hopes to correct with litigation. (Whoops, no, my mistake. Let us not forget that all of the union’s actions, including the overwrought candlelight vigil, are – all together now – “for the chiii-hilll-dren”.)

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Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

The real problem isn’t whether the union has a strong case, it’s whether they can convince the judge to rule for them. Do we have any doubt that there is a judge who would side with them? I mean afterall, they do have a current contract that spells out how teachers are terminated with cause. That’s all it takes is to get that one judge that says, “Yes Marcia, you do have a case here” and Gallo’s screwed.
I see in the ProJo today that the union is making a counteroffer to Gallo to get their jobs back and put in extra work. Maybe the CF lawyers will see that the union lawsuit has a good chance of being successful and costing the taxpayers millions in the process. Maybe Gallo takes the deal to avoid the litigation.

Sandra
Sandra
11 years ago

Monique…Looks like you can multiply..you should thank a teacher and not tear them down for wanting a fair wage and benefits. It used to be what this Country stood for. Not anymore thanks to the thankless like you.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

“you should thank a teacher and not tear them down for wanting a fair wage and benefits”
I almost died laughing. If you cut public school teachers’ salaries in half it would be considered more fair from a market perspective for all of the benefits and time off they get. Prosecutors and public defenders working 60 hr weeks earn $37k and this person is complaining about teachers’ salaries. What a joke.
Sandra, wake up, if teachers were being paid 150k the unions would still be asking for more money. Look at what happened with the UAW. No amount is ever enough for a union, it’s the nature of the animal.
The union in CF viewed the poor performance reformation mandate as an opportunity to shake down the school for $90/hr instead of as an opportunity to sacrifice for the good of the children. That should tell you all you need to know.
P.S. My multiplication knowledge came from private schools and didn’t require a dime from the taxpayers. There are alternatives to the crappy system we have now.

kathy
kathy
11 years ago

If you can read this blog, thank a taxpayer who paid the teacher.
This is the same old excuse. The unions with their big bags of money that pay for the lawyers, and then complain when the municipalities have the guts to go to court too.
The Supt in CF gave ample warning. This information was in the blogs, the papers, the radio, and TV. The unions are just ticked off that Supt Gallo isn’t putting up with their crap.

BeesNGuns
BeesNGuns
11 years ago

Interesting to note that the Race to the Top is one of President Obamas own proposals and that Gist – for RI – has been one of the first to try and take advantage of the proposal’s benefits. In short: identify underperforming schools, use one of 4 models to try and improve them, and obtain financial aid as a result. The end result being better education and better quality for the kids.
The Unions themselves, despite backing Obama, have acted with complete arrogance and looked inwardly to see how they can best maintain their own power, NOT how they can help the kids and their own members. The dialog has been conducted since last summer. Their current counter action is still arrogant and shows that they STILL are not putting the kids and teachers first.
Shameful and duplicitous. The teachers not only lost their voice (quote Dr Gallo) but they had it stolen from them and used against them in order to propagate the power of an arrogant and unneccessary Union.
http://commonamericanjournal.com/documents/dr_gallo/4197617.htm

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

“Monique…Looks like you can multiply..you should thank a teacher…”
I’m still trying to figure out where in this post that Monique did any multiplication. Maybe Sandra should find her old English teachers and get her money back, because reading comprehension appears to be a challenge.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

One could theoretically argue that she is going up the 2X multiplication table, but addition/even number counting is a more simple assumption.

dirk
dirk
11 years ago

Folks. This is about one thing. The Race to the Top money. The same stimulus money that we all opposed last year. Read the commissioner’s review for CF high, released last April. The report commended the progress of the staff and HAMMERED the administration. Now the admins are the heroes. Radical changes are a requirement for the RTTT grant. As far as the terminations, sure the contract has language about terminations…but it’s the tenure teacher laws that require specific actions that need to be taken to remove a tenured teacher. Is the law gross? Yes. But it’s there. Just because Article 31 says the commissioner can reconstitute the staff doesn’t mean 75 years of labor law and tenured teacher law is out the window. Does it supersede labor laws, contract law, tenure law? Who knows. I’ve NEVER sided with unions in the past but there has been so much misinformation floating around is disgusting. What the media has left out is that if the union agreed to ALL the board’s demands EVERY single teacher would have still been terminated. That’s a fact. What union would sign onto that? I’m blown away by the comments made by Obama. He commends The Met school. They score worst than CF. The school is a joke. Dan York spouts off on how Hope High is the greatest thing since jugged milk…and they score lower than Central Falls…after they were “reconstituted”! Arnie Duncan reports that each teacher averages 23 days out per year. True? Yes…but that includes all mandatory professional development that teachers attended during school hours. Seven teachers had between 50-60 days out last year because of reform planning. But they are reported by Duncan as “sick days”. Either this a-hole is a liar or a moron. Which is it? Part of me would… Read more »

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

“I’ve NEVER sided with unions in the past but there has been so much misinformation floating around is disgusting. What the media has left out is that if the union agreed to ALL the board’s demands EVERY single teacher would have still been terminated. That’s a fact. What union would sign onto that?”
Huh? Dirk, that isn’t true at all. In fact, it is the opposite of what happened.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

“I’m blown away by the comments made by Obama. He commends The Met school. They score worst than CF. The school is a joke”
A joke? A 90% graduation rate, compared to 55% is “a joke” to you?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

hree of my four grandparents never attended any school.The one who did was the one I never got to meet.
The three I did know were all literate in four languages,including multiple alphabets.
Now I wonder how that occured?Home schooling.
I don’t recommend or oppose home schooling in general terms-it’s up to each family;but teachers aren’t the be all and end all they sell themselves as being.
I will concede that training in the sciences needs more than home schooling.
Real sciences-not political or social science.Those are inventions of academics who need a reason to justify their existence.

doughboys
doughboys
11 years ago

The union crawled back to beg Gallo to negotiate and now the story will be that Gallo has come to her senses.
That won’t last long however as the union wants to tell the school system how a turn around should be structured and they will still have the same money demands as before.
When these talks break down it will just reflact yet again on the real stance of the union which revolve around more and more money with zero accountability.

Phil
Phil
11 years ago

Who is ultimately to blame for these unsuccessful negotiations is a separate matter. By refusing to put this matter to a vote of its members, it is the C.F. teachers union which is to blame. That they failed to put it to a vote has turned out to be a bad mistake, one that the union hopes to correct with litigation. (Whoops, no, my mistake. Let us not forget that all of the union’s actions, including the overwrought candlelight vigil, are – all together now – “for the chiii-hilll-dren”.)
Monique appears to be having a great time when she wrote the above.
One problem though is how can there be a vote after unsuccessful negotiations. Only successful negotiations could produce a plan that could brought to a vote. The union leadership are the sole agents representing the teachers (I’m not sure about the others who were part of the 93 recieving notice their services will not be renewed.) so I’m not sure that a vote is even neccesary. The teachers have voted within their union to elect those who negotiate on their behalf. Criticize one, criticize all. And criticism seems to be the salient feature here with Ms. Monique and many others with their gleeful or hateful comments about teachers or teacher unions. Not too much about the chiii-hilll-dren”.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

Phil, you’re just plain wrong. If Gallo had said to Sessums my offer is I will cut all your salaries in half, eliminate health care coverage and extend the work day to 15 hours, or I’m firing all of you, that is still an offer. It is still something that can be taken back to the union members and voted on. Your mentality that negotiations need to be “successful” for the union heads to call for a vote is exactly what got them into this mess in the first place.

Phil
Phil
11 years ago

Your mentality that negotiations need to be “successful” for the union heads to call for a vote is exactly what got them into this mess in the first place.
Posted by Patrick at March 4, 2010 7:41 AM
How does my mentality have anything to do with the events that I commented on?
Do unsuccessful negotiation between two parties result in a handshake and signatures on a legal document? What the hell are you talking about? Go back and read Ms. Monique’s comment that I was referring to about unsuccessful negotiations. Don’t come after me because I point out the obvious. Your hatred of unions is clouding your thinking. You are making statements based on emotion rather than facts and logic.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

The vote that would most benefit the teachers is a vote to de-certify the union.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
11 years ago

–“The teachers have voted within their union to elect those who negotiate on their behalf.”
As anyone who’s been around large unions know, very often the agenda is driven by what the statewide and/or national wants, and the best interests of those in a local (particularly a small local) are deemed expendable. Don’t be surprised if the union stance wasn’t about CF at all, but instead pursuing a hard-line in order to discourage other districts (if not districts in other states as well) from attempting the same thing.
Actually, since the CF teachers were probably first unionized back in the 1960’s or early 1970’s, it’s highly unlikely that even one current CF teacher voted to be represented.
Instead, union membership was already mandatory when they acquired the position (since RI isn’t a right to work state).
Theoretically the teachers have the right to decertify — but to do so will face slashed tires, threats – current or for “we’ll remember” retribution in the future, and having to bankroll the effort out of their own pocket even as their mandatory dues bankroll the “pro-union” counter-reaction.
Isn’t it funny how, unlike elected officials, labor unions never have to face periodic secret ballot elections whereby the rank and file get to vote as to whether or not they want a different union, or to regain union-free status?
So much for “union democracy.”

Phil
Phil
11 years ago

Tell me that I am wrong. You put up my quote and you did not refute it at all. All union members that are Central Falls teachers have an opportunity to vote for whoever they wish for union officers. Those officers then represent the entire body. Has there been anything I have written that is not correct?

riborn
riborn
11 years ago

Phil: Has there been anything I have written that is not correct? You are incorrect that only ‘successful negotiations’ can be brought to the teacher members to be voted upon. The union leaders could and should have gone to the teachers and let them vote on what Gallo proposed. Then we might know if the teachers were opposed to taking what Central Falls could afford, teaching an extra 25 minutes per day, eating lunch once a week with the students, and spending a few hours a day for 2 weeks of their summer vacation being educated at the town’s expense (while being paid $30/hr). The CF actions of the union were not about teaching, education, or children. It was, in their own words, about their “right to negotiate”. In RI, the union’s “right to negotiate” has for all intents and purposes become a right to whatever they want when it comes to teacher contracts. School committees across the state give away the taxpayers money and the unions take it. For once, the teachers’ union got a dose of reality. Negotiation has nowhere to go when one party demands more than the other party can give. In real life it ends when one party demands more than the other party is willing to give, but again, in RI, it’s been a feeding frenzy for so many years for the teachers’ union, and school committees who just can’t say no. The individual teachers can read as well as the rest of us though, and it was incumbent upon those individuals to step up and say “we’ll do it, this is what the students need, this is what we owe the students” when Gallo announced what was going to happen. They didn’t. Instead they got together with their candles and rhetoric and tried… Read more »

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
11 years ago

–“Tell me that I am wrong. You put up my quote and you did not refute it at all. All union members that are Central Falls teachers have an opportunity to vote for whoever they wish for union officers. Those officers then represent the entire body. Has there been anything I have written that is not correct?”
Typically in unions the rank and file get to vote for local union officers ONLY — sometimes by secret ballot, sometimes not (i.e., they must vote in public).
The rank and file typically doesn’t get to vote for union higher-ups, instead their “representatives” do (by analogy, think of your local city councilman being empowered to cast votes on your behalf to elect General Assembly Reps, Congress members and President).
Those local officials are often union diehards who wish to move up — not in their employer, but in the union.
So they are inclined to do what those above them want.
Moreover they are typically advised by the state and /or national union.
AND the rules / power that they operate under are typically established by the union constitution, which the rank and file don’t get to vote on (e.g., the CF local’s not letting the rank and file vote).
Finally, some unions prohibit final ratification of a contract, even if the members voted for it, unless / until the national union also blesses it.

dirk
dirk
11 years ago

So you’re telling me the teachers would not be fired if they agreed? So how are 88 teachers evaluated after the March 1st deadline for terminations, and then fire the ones who are identified as ineffective? All without giving everyone a termination notice. Impossible and illegal. I’m not out to disrespect anyone but you truly have no idea what you are talking about.
As far as the MET goes, they have 116 students. Naturally they have a better graduation rate. But the school is a wreak.

dirk
dirk
11 years ago

wreck!

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