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A little teacher strike irony

Post by Cheryl Tucker on Sep. 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm with 6 Comments »
September 26, 2011 1:50 pm

I found it a little ironic Saturday when I read that the Tacoma teachers union was upset that striking teachers’ pay would be delayed (TNT, 9-24). Their first paycheck Oct. 5 will only cover the two days they actually worked before going out on strike. The district claims state law prohibits it from paying for work not done.

Tacoma Education Association president Andy Coons disputes that. He told reporter Debbie Cafazzo that the delay was “retaliatory” on the district’s part. “You are going to have 2,000 families not being able to make their mortgages, not being able to pay their bills based on this.” He noted that “most teachers live paycheck to paycheck.”

Here’s the irony part: When we editorialized that a strike would likely be a costly inconvenience for district families who would have to scramble to make child-care arrangements, we got several letters and online comments from teachers criticizing us. The gist was that parents had known for several weeks that a strike might occur, so they should have had backup plans in place. If they were inconvenienced, they had only themselves to blame.

Well, teachers have known since last spring that a strike was a possibility. That’s when the union surveyed them, asking “Are you willing to strike?” The union never publicly revealed the outcome of that survey, but given what happened you’d have to guess that the teachers were supportive of striking.

It’s a little hypocritical for teachers to criticize parents – many of whom earn far less than teachers – for not being prepared for a strike and then turn around and claim hardship themselves. Shouldn’t they have been budgeting for a possible strike?

But then, why should they? The teachers had no expectation that a strike might be a financial hit – unlike members of private-sector unions who actually forfeit pay when they walk the picket lines. They knew they’d get paid no matter how long they were out on strike because state law mandates the length of the school year.

At least by getting their pay delayed until they actually earn it, they’ll share a little of the pain they inflicted on district families.

(And I’m sure some teacher will write in to tell me that I’m misusing “irony.” Go tell it to Alanis Morrisette).


Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. Oh my! It is not about the money unless they don’t get paid.

  2. jimkingjr says:

    I really wish they weren’t going to get paid until they earn it- until they actually show-up for make-up days- but the reality is that what they don’t get on this next paycheck they will get on the following one. A whole two week delay. Boo hoo.

  3. wildcelticrose says:

    So they hold students and their families hostage, violate a court order and then turn around and whine when they’re paid for that time (but they’ll get paid for it anyway)?

    Sorry, cry me a river.

    If I want to get paid, I have to go to work (or take approved vacation)

    And if I want to keep my job, I have to obey the law in regards to doing it.

    They need to quit whining and playing the “poor me” card.

    Yes they had some support, but many many more of us are pretty ticked off about it, especially in this economy.

  4. So the teachers expect to be paid for not teaching? Sounds fair. Or would it be more fair that since the teachers spent more time on the picketline then in the classrooms that the union pay their salary for that week and a half. After all, they were conducting union business so the union should pay.

  5. elmerfudpucker says:

    No work, no pay, now if we could only do that to Congress.

  6. nascar9 says:

    And these hypocrites are teaching our kids!!!!

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