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Teachers’ strike a black eye for community

April 18, 2012

Once more, the Rockford teachers’ union has manipulated the teachers to do the union’s bidding. The strike is a black eye on the community. The best way for an organization to keep its power is to show off its power. Could not the teachers have voted from their respective schools via the Internet? The Coronado, indeed. Could they not have hired an arbitrator to settle the dispute?

Why didn’t we hear from the dozen teachers who were against the strike? I, for one, would like to know their reasons.

In the fall of 1972, my very first year of teaching, a strike was called. Being new and eager to get started, I went to my school to work on lesson plans. I promptly received threatening phone calls and letters. Frightened, I began to wonder if I had chosen an honorable career at all.

Herman Melville once ended a sad short story with the words, “Ah, humanity.” He was right.

Alice Kaczmarek
Rockford

From the April 18-24, 2012, issue

5 Comments

  1. Susan

    April 18, 2012 at 8:01 am

    There would not have been a strike if the Board had not wanted one. The Board kept walking out of negotiations. Talk to some teachers. The Board put out a lot of misleading information. Among all the teachers only 12 out of over 1,600 voted not to strike. That says a lot. An arbitrator was involved for many months. The union did not manipulate the teachers. The teachers were completely with a very few exceptions behind the union.

    To be threatened was wrong and should never happen, but that was 40 years ago. Times, I hope, have changed.

  2. John

    April 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Those teachers weren’t all against the strike. Some of them voted no because the teachers weren’t going out on strike the next day instead of waiting until Thursday.

  3. John

    April 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Ms. Kaczmarek, to answer your questions:

    The teachers could not have voted via the internet. They needed to hear the updates and ask questions before making such a serious decision.

    Also, the school district would not allow the REA to use any of the school buildings for a meeting.

    RPS205 would not have agreed to binding arbitration because they lost their shirts the last time, in 1984, that they agreed to it.

  4. VeryModest

    April 18, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    I think the bigger black eye comes from the fact that it took the board and its negotiation team 11 months to reach a settlement with the teachers in which the teachers received only a .5% increase in both the second and the third years of the contract. No increase was taken/given in the first or fourth year of the contract. Then consider that it took the board less than 2 weeks after settlement with the teachers to give the “interim” Superintendent a 21% raise over this year retro back to January and next year along with extending his interim contract for a 3rd year. Where is the public outrage over this tiny little fact that while mentioned in the news was quickly and quietly buried. Shouldn’t we be comparing the superintendents wage and increase to the “average workers” in Rockford as they did with the teachers? I don’t know how many of the “average workers” in Rockford got that kind of wage increase and based on the fact that the Superintendent caused the first teacher strike in 28 years. Now that is job performance at its best.

  5. Tina

    April 24, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Did anyone tell the dozen that they couldn’t speak? Just like Nazi’s marched in Skokie, free speech is a part of our society. I admit it comes with great cost, both personally and professionally, but a dozen teachers our of a group this large? I think the bigger issue is that we have a so much mistrust in the district…and I think there is enough blame for that to go around.

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