Saturday, September 02, 2006

Striking For Nothing In Gary?

The teachers in Gary, Indiana, have ended their strike in exchange for a sub-inflationary pay raise increase in compensation:
The city's teachers union approved a contract agreement Friday, ending a strike that has kept 16,000 students out of class for more than a week.

Gary Teachers Union President Sandra Irons said the vote was unanimous.

"I'm glad it's over," she said. "Let's go to work."

Officials planned for the 1,200 teachers and paraprofessionals to return to their classrooms on Friday and prepare for students to start the school year on Tuesday, after the Labor Day holiday.

Teachers went on strike on Aug. 21 for the first time since 1984. The district closed schools on Aug. 24, the day after few students attended the first day of classes. The teachers had been working under the terms of a contract that expired in December 2004.

The three-year contract, retroactive to last year, gives teachers a 2 percent-per-year pay raise. They also will get 45 minutes for lunch; the school board had wanted to cut the breaks to 30 minutes.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said Friday the strike was especially disturbing because Gary is the "school district with, I believe, the worst results in the state of Indiana, and the kids have lost two weeks."

School Board President Alex Wheeler Jr. said Thursday that the board had endorsed a tentative deal. About 700 people had attended the board meeting, with many of the speakers lambasting the board for not reaching a deal earlier.

"They say no child left behind. You have a whole community left behind," said Farris Beasley, the mother of a high school junior.

The deal extends the school year by two days in December and a week in June to make up for the strike.
I think that if I had been one of those teachers that did go out on strike, I would get some tar and feathers and go a-hunting for union president Sandra Irons and her minions the other union officials that launched the work-stoppage in the first place.

I really don't like it when teachers strike. Having said that, if you're going to go out on strike, you'd better make sure you win. Otherwise, it's best to continue the negotiating process.

Don't pick a fight unless you can finish it.
See our latest EduPosts.