September 3, 2009

E.P. Teachers Offer "Kid-Friendly" Boycott of After School Activities

Marc Comtois

ProJo reports:

The city's teachers have voted to withdraw from volunteer activities in the city's schools.

The roughly 500 educators won't help with afternoon activities except for those that are accompanied with paid stipends, nor will they chaperone dances, buy supplies for their classrooms or participate in committees for curriculum development, accreditation or school improvement.

The changes are effective immediately and will affect all of the city's 13 schools. School begins Sept. 9.

"We're continuing all our contractual obligations and beyond," said Valarie Lawson, the president of the local teachers union, East Providence Education Association. The union adopted the policy at a Monday membership meeting.

"This is not work to rule," said East Providence High School history teacher Greg Amore, a member of the committee that developed the teachers' plan.

When teacher unions vote to do only what is contractually necessary, it is considered "work to rule" in education circles.

The city's teachers, however, will continue to write letters of recommendation for students, meet and talk with parents and be involved with parent-teacher organizations. They will also continue to offer after-school help, coach sports teams, correct papers and plan lessons at home, and participate in all paid extracurricular activities.

Amore said this plan is "kid-friendly."


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Notice how they will continue to do the extra services where extra pay is involved. I guess it's for the children.

Maybe the school committee should give people who would like to coach from the outside an opportunity to do so, and give them the money instead. There is no contract after all. This greed has got to stop.

Posted by: kathy at September 3, 2009 4:18 PM

So you cut pay and then expect them to continue to do things which are not required by the contract in the first place. You have no grounds to bitch about since the contract does not seem to matter anyway.

Posted by: Gandordon at September 3, 2009 5:08 PM

Right-o, Grandordon.

Fire them all and restaff the schools (potentially with many of the same folks) with professionals who understand their jobs as hinging on the gravity of mutual benefit and therefore seek to increase and prove their value, while demanding that the school district recognize same.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 3, 2009 5:58 PM

Hey, if the teachers wasn't to use "the chiiiiiiiildreeeeeen" as pawns, be our guest.

Their pay got cut 5% and they have to pay 20% towards health care. They are still employed.

I can't even imagine an equivalent action in the private sector.

PS This will make the next step a little easier to accomplish.

Posted by: Will at September 3, 2009 11:03 PM

I still don't understand all the complaints about work to rule. If you want to put these "obligations" in the contract, fine. But attacking teachers for fulfilling the terms of a contract?
Some people are just teacher hatas, no matter what.

Posted by: rhody at September 4, 2009 1:04 AM

Do we have to put everything in a contract? Aren't there certain things that are just considered part of doing your job. Must we put in the contract that if you drop something on the floor then you must pick it up? Sounds ridiculous, well so is putting everything else in there.
On another note, the teachers union decided to do this without consulting the School Committee, does this now mean that they've changed their opinion about unilateral implementation?

Posted by: bobc at September 4, 2009 6:46 PM

Not at all, BobC. Permit me to explain.

See, when the School Committee implements something that the union leadership doesn't like, even if it followed months of good faith negotiating, it's called unilaterally implementing.

When the public union implements something, regardless of whether they communicated with the School Committee beforehand, it's called justice and an asserting of fundamental rights.

Do you see the difference?

Posted by: Monique at September 4, 2009 8:47 PM


"Teacher hatas"??

No, we just hate non-professional, lazy Union-hacks who hide behind collective bargaining, contracts, judges, grievances, etc.

If they don't like what the city can afford to pay, then they should simply take their "talents" elsewhere.

It is really that simple. Why should we be held hostage by collective-bargaining Union-hack BS?

Imagine going to the store to buy a can of soup and the store owner says the soup will cost you $100 dollars. You, not wanting or willing to pay that outrageous price, say "no thanks, I'll take my business elsewhere". But not so fast ...the store-keeper takes you to court and forces you to "negotiate" with him and to seek an arbitrator to determine what you will pay for the can of soup.

In this scenario, would you not quickly become a soup-seller 'hata'?

How about simply allowing you to pay what you can afford to whomever you chose? Why is that not the most rationale and fair approach?

Posted by: George Elbow at September 4, 2009 9:06 PM

George, since you seem to feel contracts aren't worth the paper they're written on, stop paying your mortgage for a few months. Then make the same argument to your bank that you make to support the East Providence School Committee.
This oughta be good.

Posted by: rhody at September 4, 2009 9:44 PM


You are comparing apples to oranges.

The majority of the people I know do NOT have an employment contract. In fact, the ONLY people I know who have employment contracts are Public Union-hack employees.

On the other hand, I don't know anyone who has a mortgage that isn't documented via a "contract".

My point is that we should not have contracts for public employees, period. I know it is feasible because the majority of the people I know go to work every day without a contract and they survive the big bad world just fine.

You know as well as I do that these Union-hacks use the contract as a sledgehammer.

The mere fact that they behave and "work" differently under a given contract based on where they are with respect to "negotiations" demonstrates that they use it as a means of coersion.

Bottom line: these chicken-crap, lazy Union hacks wouldn't last 10 minutes in the private sector where they'd be held accountable for their in-actions and non-results. That is why they cling to the contract no matter how much they disagree with it.

Posted by: George Elbow at September 4, 2009 11:10 PM

Justin when a builder or contractor sign a contract or agreement to build a new deck on my house should i also expect them to put on a new roof for me and perhaps fix any thing else that they see wrong.? If you someday get lucky and take over for Matt Allen or Dan Yorke should you also be expected to repair and maintain the studio.?

Posted by: Ganglybob at September 5, 2009 1:06 PM

Ganglybob, When I sign a contract with a builder to put a deck on my house, I expect him to perform whatever is necessary to construct the deck. Just as I expect a teacher to do whatever is necessary to teach the children. If they can't or won't do that then they should seek employment elsewhere. If you are spending too many nights and weekends doing "work" that you are not paid for, maybe, just maybe, you were not that competent to begin with.

Posted by: bobc at September 5, 2009 5:40 PM


Do you have an employment contract?

The only people I know who have them are the lazy, Entitlement-minded, coddled, not-so-bright, low-self-esteem, scared of the free-market, horrified at the prospects of living in the real world, chicken-crap, hardly-working Union-hack dependents.

The majority of people go thru life never working with a Contract and they do just fine.

What is it about these non-self reliant Union-hack flock of sheep that causes them to depend on a Contract?

And why is it that the "work-to-rule" game is only played during contract "negotiating" time?

Isn't the grown-up answer one that has the employee seeking a job elsewhere if they don't like what's required of them in their current job? Instead, chicken-crap Union-hacks hide behind the children. Very impressive indeed.

Posted by: George Elbow at September 5, 2009 6:58 PM


To put some specifics to bobc's response to you: If you sign a contract with a builder to build your deck, you should expect that he'll maintain the equipment that he requires to do the work. You should expect that he'll construct barriers and drape caution tape as necessary to ensure that the jobsite is safe. You should expect that he'll have spent adequate time instructing his employees. That he'll coordinate with the electrician. That he'll bill you in a comprehensible manner. That he'll be available for you to call if there's a problem, especially an emergency.

If he's professional, you should expect that he'll arrange for the usage of the neighbor's driveway before setting up staging, there, if it's necessary. If he's done work for you before and under similar contract provisions discarded the construction waste, it would be reasonable for you to expect that, as well.

And you might also expect that he'll take care of myriad minor issues that ensure that you'll consider him first for any future work that you might have need to contract. Such is the way of the working world.

But if it is your intention to argue that line-item contracts are not appropriate for the teaching profession, I'm inclined to agree.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 5, 2009 9:17 PM
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