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Thursday, July 28, 2011

In close vote, MTEA declines additional concessions

by folkbum

In a letter emailed to teachers today (which you can read here), MTEA president Bob Peterson gave the results of the survey:
The survey showed that 52.4% of the membership opposed additional concessions and 47.5% favored them. Based on the results and the many thoughtful comments, the Executive Board decided to not pursue any additional concessions.
Considering that last fall's vote, which involved far larger concessions than those considered this time around, was overwhelming in favor, I think it's clear that Milwaukee teachers feel first, that we're not opposed to giving back, but we also recognize that we have given quite a lot.

But the closeness of this week's vote suggests that there is still room for compromise in the future, if we ever get the right to bargain collectively back. Currently, you might recall, it's against the law for the union and the district to meet and mutually discuss the employment conditions of Milwaukee's teachers.

I am disappointed by the vote, as I have been arguing for months that there are things teachers can give up that would save the district money without significant impact--a furlough day or two, dumping the "sweetener" supplemental pension--for both political and practical reasons. The superintendent--whose response you can read too--is not the enemy here; you can check the archives at his blog to see he agrees with me, and the union, in more diplomatic terms of course, about where the fault lies. Peterson's letter is pretty explicit, in fact, that a lot of teachers who might have voted yes commented that they didn't trust the current Republican leadership in the state and instead voted to protect themselves.

That right there is perhaps the worst damage that Walker and co. have done to the relationship between public employees and their employers. Not that long ago we willing made concessions to help the district and students, but now we feel we have to protect ourselves instead. Thanks, GOP.

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