November 8, 2008

Credit Where Credit's Not Due

Justin Katz

Well this would clearly not be acceptable:

In the first year of the contract, retroactive to the last school year, [Tiverton] teachers with at least 10 years' experience would receive pay increases of 2.75 percent. The same group would get another 2.5 percent in the current year, but hikes in health insurance costs also would kick in.

A teacher with at least 10 years experience, who made a base salary of $64,205 in the 2006-2007 school year, excluding stipends for advanced course work and degrees, would get a retroactive check of more than $1,700 for the last academic year.

In the current school year, that same teacher would receive another raise of about $1,650, before taxes, according to calculations made from the history of the salary scale.

It would be downright immoral to reward teachers for their year of "work to rule" — a year that saw a painful tax increase — by paying them extra for that time. For the town and state ever to make progress, the notion that public sector union employees will pay no price for dragging out negotiations has got to end.

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Aw, what the hell Justin. The election is over. Everyone will forget by the time the next one comes around. Don't worry yourself over things that (they say) don't concern you and,,,anyway, you just don't understand how hard they work.

Disgusting, aren't they?

Posted by: John at November 8, 2008 6:46 AM

Yes, Justin, receiving retroactive pay increases after engaging in work-to-rule is just plain wrong.

In a nutshell, the teachers are getting made whole while the students - who should be the central focus of all educational efforts - can never been made whole as a result of the teachers' actions.

To make it worse, the article also deftly sidesteps disclosing the true retroactive benefit to be received by teachers. Teachers with at least 10 years experience will get the retroactive increases for the two years as discussed in the article.

But all other teachers who have less than ten years will move up a job step each of the two years as well. These job step increases carry hidden salary increases which both school officials and union leaders almost never disclose to the taxpayers.

In my experience as a former East Greenwich School Committee member, the job step increases mean those teachers will be getting TWO annual increases of approximately 7-12%/year. So a teacher making $50,000/year could see a total salary increase in the range of $7,000-12,000.

That's quite a reward for bad behavior now, isn't it?

Posted by: Donald B. Hawthorne at November 8, 2008 7:10 AM

Just look to us in Warwick to see what will eventually happen. After FOUR YEARS of work to rule, the teachers got their retroactive pay. When I questioned the school board about rewarding the union for disrupting so many students lives and asked how they planned on paying for the raises I got a response of "let us handle it. That's what you elected us for." Don't be surprised at the blank looks and double speak you will get when you ask the school board how they will pay for it.

Posted by: Chris at November 8, 2008 7:31 AM


The good news is that the school committee hasn't yet approved this contract, and not only were we the citizens able to place an ally on the committee, but we've clearly illustrated that there's an organization with the potential to overhaul local government.

It may take time to push things in the right direction, but at least there's hope, now.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 8, 2008 8:01 AM

Yes, work to rule is selfish, unprofessional and detrimental to the children.

But it is ultimately the fault of school committees who a.) don't penalize the teachers for carrying it out and who b.) execute contracts leaving out all of these important tasks.

Posted by: Monique at November 8, 2008 3:19 PM


Would you be referring to those school committees populated with spouses of school teachers, school teachers from the next town over, and "retired" teachers?

Posted by: Tom W at November 9, 2008 9:16 AM

Why, yes, I would, TomW.

But surely we are just being excessively suspicious. It only matters if the contract he or she votes on pertains to his or her own direct employment.

At least, that's what the Ethics Commission has concluded ...

Posted by: Monique at November 9, 2008 8:34 PM

Conveniently for the Ethics Commission, it pretends never to have heard of "pattern bargaining" nor years of newspaper stories in RI replete with references to teachers in "negotiations" pointing to provisions in contracts in other RI communities.

Ditto that local NEA (and AFT) affiliates are merely subservient appendages of NEARI, which in turn is merely a subservient appendage of NEA.

Posted by: Tom W at November 10, 2008 12:05 PM
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