It appears from two recent stories that some unions should take an oath of "do no harm" to their own members. In Maryland, veteran teachers resorted to extreme measures to earn a 1% pay raise — at the expense of the jobs of their colleagues with little or no seniority. The Education Action Group asserts:
The Harford County (Maryland) school board has agreed to eliminate the jobs of 72 teachers and administrators in order to fund one percent raises for veteran members of the local teachers union.
“Although our teachers undoubtedly deserve a fair pay raise, this proposal also comes with a cost—the loss of both administrative and teaching positions,” County Executive David Craig said in a statement, according to BelAirPatch.com.
One percent is not enough for one union member.
“I appreciate with my whole heart the step that you all have made today, but one percent is $20 that doesn’t fill my gas tank to go to work,” Amy Childs told board members, according to ExploreHarford.com.
Of course, that won’t be an issue for the 72 employees who soon won’t be traveling any farther than their couch each morning.
Even though the wage agreement is a bad deal for the community as a whole, board members likely felt pressured to approve it. Harford teachers have been picketing for the past two weeks, as well as conducting a “work to rule” campaign, in which teachers limit “their duties and activities to only those specifically required as part of their contract,” Examiner.com reports.
Harford teachers refused to “volunteer at lunchtime or, beyond the school day to tutor students or, run extra-curricular clubs and activities. Teachers did not enter school until the start of their contractual time and left immediately after their contracted day was over,” the news site reports.
So the veteran teachers had a tantrum and got their way. Their raise will mean fewer teachers and larger class sizes for students, but hey, what do they matter?
Needless to say, the layoffs will mostly affect younger employees with little seniority. They may be union brothers and sisters when times are good, but when there’s only so many dollars to go around, older teachers are happy to eat their young.
We wonder if the union would have pushed for the raise/layoff deal if the school board had the right to choose which teachers were laid off, regardless of seniority? Probably not.