Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
The Sun has an article about the school committee-teacher contract negotiations. I have a few things to say about it.
First, the reported rejection of the school committee’s offer. Look, I am sympathetic of the fact that the teachers have gone without a cost of living raise (just step increases) for the more than two years there has been no contract. It’s not fair, and it’s frustrating I am sure. Teachers work hard, and should be compensated like professionals. Their job is so important to a strong community.
However, I think asking for too much right now forces the school committee to choose between raises, and JOBS. Chapter 70 money is merely level-funded right now, if even that, and the city can hardly afford to greatly increase their part of the school budget, given the amount of local aid from the state. Medical insurance and other expenses are going up, up, up. This eats into the budget every year. We’re in a serious downtown for heaven’s sake! People are getting laid off right, left, and center in both the private AND the public sector. Why doesn’t this reality sink in? Accept a modest forward-going raise that kicks in over time so the school committee can feel confident they can fund it, or watch colleagues get laid off!!
I am a public and private union sympathizer, but Paul Georges sometimes make it VERY hard for me to sympathize with the teacher’s union and their demands. This isn’t the first time that’s happened. I know his job is to be a hard ass, but enough is enough.
However, that is not the only outrage in that article, and now we come to the real reason for this post. From the article (important part in bold):
As contract negotiations continue behind closed doors between the School Committee and United Teachers of Lowell, one School Committee member tells The Sun that union leaders refused a 3 percent raise offered by the committee this week.
“They are sharks,” said the committee member, who agreed to speak anonymously because negotiations are protected by executive-session privilege. “We have really extended ourselves with the best offer we could make, but it is not enough for them.”
Who the goddamned hell broke executive session rules to comment on the rejection in the first place??
I would like to see that person LOSE the upcoming election. What. An. IDIOT. We NEED to know who that person is.
Of course, the Sun went to Paul Georges for a reaction to the anonymous comment, which included a very incendiary “they are sharks.”
If you thought the negotiations have been grueling, unproductive, and contentious up til now, just wait. Thanks to this stupid farking anonymous School Committee member, the teachers now have an excuse to be even more pissed off. And rightly so. The rules of negotiation were violated by one party. This is not negotiating in good faith. Haven’t we had enough public personnel fights fought in the pages of the Lowell Sun (the former Superintendent) to be smart enough to refrain from this sort of ethical lapse?
My god. If we do not find out what elected moron commented and leaked executive session negotiations, then we need to concentrate on ousting all the incumbents we can and replacing them with all the challengers running. Even though I am a supporter of some of the incumbents.
If I were the rest of the School Committee, I would publicly come out and state they were not the leak, so by process of elimination, we can figure out who was. Sure, there’s a chance someone might lie about it, but if we continue to have elected officials undermining delicate negotiations, I am ready with the pitchfork of my vote to retire them posthaste. And you should be too.
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