Compressing the Same Workforce
What am I missing in this story?
Providence teachers on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to approve a three-year contract that guarantees that every fired teacher will be returned to the district in exchange for substantial concessions.
The unprecedented decision to fire every teacher and close five schools left teachers and parents angry and demoralized. Although the mayor later recalled three-fourths of the faculty, the remaining teachers had to apply for openings via a job fair this spring that some felt was unfair.
So the city closed five schools but is still going to employ the same number of teachers? The article mentions fewer sick days, longer school days, an end to seniority, and the union’s dropping a lawsuit that had sought to prevent the end of seniority-based hiring. No doubt there are significant savings in the deal, and ending seniority is a structural change worth some negotiation. The end of seniority was coming, though, and it’s probable that the long-term expenses of a too-large workforce will soon swamp the savings of a dropped lawsuit.
At the least, this is a good example of the inefficiencies of government and the lethargy with which it changes.