Letters to the Editor

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STRIKE: District’s action will delay healing

Letter by David Hockman, Milton on Sep. 26, 2011 at 3:00 pm with 3 Comments »
September 26, 2011 3:14 pm

Tacoma School Superintendent Art Jarvis has chosen the wrong path in electing to withhold Tacoma teachers’ pay for the month of September.

The strike is over. Teachers and students are back in the classroom. Now is the time to begin the healing process, not exacerbate an already difficult situation with a final inflammatory act.

Tacoma teachers and administrators have fought with each other long enough. It’s time for them to remember that they share a common goal: the education of the young people of Tacoma. Withholding pay from Tacoma teachers will simply cause more families to suffer, more children to go without. What is the point of that?

It is entirely understandable that Jarvis is angry with Tacoma teachers. It is equally understandable that Tacoma teachers are frustrated with their administration. Neither side conducted themselves in an entirely exemplary manner during the dispute.

However, now is the time to ask the question, “Is the next step we take meant to be punitive or curative?”
I hope  Jarvis will decide on the latter.

(Hockman is a 28-year veteran teacher in the Fife School District.)

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. Rollo_Tomassi says:

    “Withholding pay from Tacoma teachers will simply cause more families to suffer, more children to go without. What is the point of that?”

    A question the teachers should have asked themselves before they went on strike.

    The whole point of any strike is to refuse to work under the current conditions. Teachers understand that, right/ They should also understand that they should not and would not get paid for days when they don’t work. Their pay will catch up to them after they spend the proper number of hours in the classroom.

  2. It is interesting teachers made comments in the News Tribune letters to the editor forum that parents should have been prepared for the strike. Parents should have made arrangements for day care because teachers were talking of a strike.

    Since the TEA went on strike for 29 days back in 1979, there was a history of striking for an extended period of time. Maybe teachers should have followed there own rhetoric and prepared for a strike. Maybe they should have socked away some extra cash, bought extra food during the summer, forgone vacations, just plain prepared for an extended strike.

    Now the TEA thinks it is unfair the property owners and taxpayers should just hand over money for days teachers did not work. Maybe teachers needed to sharpen their collective pencils and should have worked out a family budget.

    And, it is time the legislature go through the laws of Washington and have consequences for illegal actions. A law without consequences is not a law at all. Hopefully, the judiciary will levy a collective big fine against each person who violated the restraining order.

    Maybe Washington State needs to have a law similar to the New York State Taylor Law which prohibits strikes by government employees and levies fines equal to a day’s pay for each strike day. It also calls for medication and binding arbitration.

    And, the TEA is just fortunate they are not federal employees who would have been sacked like the air traffic controllers were by President Reagan.

  3. commoncents says:

    your desire for penalties would cause extra work for the district without any benefit. Sort of a cut off your nose to spite your face….hopefully you do not own your own businesses. And if you do…I can only imagine how much more successful it would be had you been able to separate your emotions from your business decisions.

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