Chariho School Parents’ Forum

September 6, 2007

It’s “Stike!” season

Filed under: Budget,contract negotiations,Unions — Editor @ 9:17 am

If you haven’t noticed, it’s “Strike” season.  That annual ritual when public school employees threaten to go on strike, and often do – even though teacher strikes are against the law (unfortunately, our union controlled legislature has taken the teeth out of the law and there are no penalties for striking).

Burrillville went first, next Tiverton and East Greenwich.  Judges have ordered Burrillville and Tiverton back, but EG has not gone that route yet.

There is all the information you would need over at Anchorrising.

But here are some things to keep in mind – an inside look at what’s going on (which is rare because the NEA insists that the meeting are closed to the public, the same public that actually pays the bills – and School Committees (SC) acquiesce to this demand to keep the public in the dark).  I wonder why that practice continues, don’t you.  There is no law that requires this practice – it is agreed to by the union and the school board, without input from the people that actually pay the bills.

Tiverton SC has offered a 4.5% raise over the life of the 3-year contract – that’s 1.5% per year.  PLUS the employees will continue to get their step (or schedule) increases, which between the two total from 5 to 8% per year for half of the teachers.  Tiverton also has asked for employees to contribute towards their health insurance at a rate between 15 and 25 percent.

For the NEA – they have asked for a 3.75% raises, or 11.25% over the 3-year contrat, PLUS their step raises, which between the two will total from 8 to 12% per year.  They are also asking that contributions towards health care be given back to them (at least partially) through longevity or some other means of remuneration, meaning their contribution would fall somewhere in the range of 5 and 8%.

I can’t give you details (yet) on the Chariho negotiations, but I can tell you our offer, that has been repeatedly rejected, is much (MUCH) closer to the Tiverton union’s offer than the Tiverton’s SC offer.  As the saying goes – if I knew then what I know now.

Considering the normal private sector business gives raises between 3 and 4 percent, and the average co-pay for insurance is between 25 and 30 percent – do you feel like you are getting a good deal – and do I need to remind you that latest figures reported for academic achievement put us second from the bottom on student performance?

Chariho is also in contract negotiations (with the support personnel) – and the Chariho NEA has threatened to go on strike too.  I can’t divulge what has taken place during the closed session meetings (more on why they are closed later – and definitely more detail about what happened at the meetings after the cloak of silence is removed) but I can tell you what happened before and after the meeting was closed – 1 second before the meeting started, and 1 second after it ended, the NEA rep had a button on that said, “I don’t want to strike, but I will if I have to.” 

Apparently, they don’t know me very well – I don’t take kindly to threats.

Knowing that the NEA has pressured school boards to give half the employee raises in excess of 10% (Chariho averages 10.7%) and knowing that public employees have pensions and health care that far exceed that given to you – the people who pay the bills – do you find it acceptable that Chariho is without a contract because we have not offered them enough? 

Enough is enough.  It’s time the NEA realized that they cannot have the same increases they are used to.  They might even get NO increase – just like all of us.  After all, when was the last time you received a raise of 10.7%? 

And if we think its bad now – wait until GASBY takes hold.  GASBY, for those that don’t know, is the federal requirement that states and municipalities (which include schools) disclaim how much their pensions are underfunded.  Early estimates from RI indicate that our total unfunded liability is in excess of $4 BILLION.  That’s right B – Billion. 

Do you think those who say its “all about the kids” will take a pay cut so schools can stay open, or do you think they will go on strike again and again.

And wait until next year.  There are 8 teacher contracts that expired this year (and untold number of support personnel contracts).   There are 16 teacher contracts scheduled to end next year, the year before the election.  Do you see something big coming?

Stay tuned – I’ve taken good notes and will divulge all the gory details asap!

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8 Comments »

  1. Are things looking like Chariho is going to strike?

    Comment by visiting — September 6, 2007 @ 11:20 am | Reply

  2. I don’t think so. Threats are usually made in place of the actual event. But then again, I’ve been wrong before.

    Another reason I doubt it is because the last few budget and bond votes have made it clear that the people are still licking their wounds from the 18.9% property tax increase. For the NEA to hold out because Chariho isn’t paying enough money is an argument that would be difficult to make – especially in light of lower-than-expected academic achievement.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 6, 2007 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

  3. Let them go on strike. Let them stay out a year, two years – forever. Who cares.

    Given no other choice, parents will have to homeschool or use private schools. Parents previously disengaged due to other life responsibilities may then wake up and understand how inefficiently and poorly run Chariho operates. As an added bonus, parents and private schools will surely educate children much better than what we are getting now. Let them all go. Good riddance!

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 13, 2007 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

  4. It is time for Chariho SC to stand up for those who put them in office. But will they? Most of the taxpayers do not have the resources to fund the overly generous contracts that go far beyond reasonableness. In addition we have to consider that we also have municipal budgets to fund.

    Each town council needs to stand up for their constituents since the members on the school committee- for the most part- won’t do it, and publicly reject any increase that exceeds the rise of inflation and health care ‘co-shares’ that are inconsistent with the taxpaying public.

    Comment by very tired — September 14, 2007 @ 7:53 am | Reply

  5. Hey Bill,

    That’s GASB, not GASBY, it stands for Governmental Accounting Stadards Board. Now what makes you an expert, or at least qualified to refer to something you can’t even SPELL?

    nice site, does your therapist approve?

    pete

    Comment by petegingras — September 14, 2007 @ 11:00 am | Reply

  6. Hey Pete, before criticizing Mr. Felkner’s spelling, you should recognize the difference between a word and an acronym.

    A word can be mispelled (or is that misspelled), but an acronym is not a word. Also, I’m not sure what “Stadards” means? Perhaps you meant to spell “Standards”? Apparently you are an expert in putting your foot in your mouth.

    Gotta love a dolt who makes an attack on spelling when they have their own problems with spelling. You wouldn’t happen to be an English teacher by any chance?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 14, 2007 @ 1:07 pm | Reply

  7. No, Pete is Pete Gingras – he is the NEA contract negotiator currently involved with the Chariho contract (I am on that committee).

    Pete was not the NEA rep wearing the “I don’t want to strike, but I will if I have to” button “1 second before and 1 second after the closed session meeting.”

    Pete was wearing a button too. Pete – what did that button say again?

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 14, 2007 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

  8. […] I would hate for such examples to get lost in the shuffle – here is a post recieved on the previous post “It’s Strike! Season“ […]

    Pingback by The artful act of debate « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — September 14, 2007 @ 1:30 pm | Reply


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