Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA SCHOOLS: Why discourage volunteer help?

Letter by Ronald D. Prewitt, Tacoma on May 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm | 3 Comments »
May 3, 2010 2:20 pm

Re: “Union squelches school volunteer workers” (TNT, 4-29).

The last that I heard is that Tacoma Public Schools has a budget shortfall. I was surprised, saddened and angered to hear that a Tacoma school employees union would obstruct a group of volunteers at a weekend work party by limiting the work they could do.

There were at least 100 volunteers from Comcast to paint, remove overgrown bushes and spread beauty bark. The bushes were obstructing the staff’s view of people approaching the school and interfering with cars entering the school’s parking area. The last time the bushes were trimmed back – by parents – was a year ago.

Reasons for the union’s action that were given was volunteers having to use specialized equipment and to ensure that volunteers do not supplant the union members’ livelihood. The specialized equipment needed was paint brushes, bush loppers, hand clippers and rakes. Most people are familiar with these tools or are easily instructed.

I have been a volunteer for school work parties and have seen skilled volunteers furnish and operate their own highly specialized equipment. The reason I see for the union’s behavior is that the free volunteer labor could take away from union overtime labor. Because of the budget shortfall this work probably will not get done by the union either. How’s that for the union caring for the kids!

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