Central Falls: The Unions Strike Back

The drama in Central Falls continued to unfold today as the teachers’ union filed three unfair labor charges against the school district. Below is our commentary on the key points from The Providence Journal report:

● The AFL-CIO called on the school district to return to negotiations while the local union, in one of its charges, claimed the school district had ‘failed’ to negotiation. Well, at first Superintendent Frances Gallo, proposed issuing pink slips to all of the teachers while guaranteeing that 80 percent of them would rehired. But they balked. So Gallo came back with a 100-percent guarantee. What more do you want? But even then, the unions wouldn’t agree to the conditions for reforming the school.

● Well, the unions make it clear in today’s story what they want. For them, it’s all about the money. Gallo had asked them to attend training sessions after school—get this, they even were going to get paid $30 an hour to do it. But that wasn’t enough for the teachers. They wanted $90 an hour. Remember, these are people who are making $70,000 to $78,000 a year in a community where the median household income is $22,000. I can imagine most people who are unemployed would have gladly accepted extra training and a longer work day if it meant the difference between keeping or losing their job. But not these teachers, who can’t be bothered to teach for an extra 25 minutes in a school where half the students fail their classes and less than half graduate.

● At the end of the story, the labor lawyer who filed the charges claims this is really an effort to ‘bust’ the union. Yep, that must be what this is all about. It has nothing to do with a 50-percent fail rate, 48-percent graduation rate, or that just 7 percent of juniors passed the state math test. Yeah, it’s all about the union. But now that you mention it, based on how little they seem to care about the students, at least compared with their own financial well being, maybe some union busting would be a good thing.

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