When requested to take two unpaid furlough days between January and June 2018 to help ease a budgetary shortfall, the teacher’s union, unlike the custodian’s union and the secretary’s union, said NO! The result is that the Stratford Public Schools will lay off 40 teachers. The shortfall was attributed in part to a cut in state funding.
Of course, the teachers’ union was quick to bleat, “it’s for the children.”
Michael Fiorello, head of the teachers’ union, the Stratford Education Association, was quoted as saying, “Stratford Education Association members want to be part of the solution but hold steadfast against any cuts that affect the classroom and jeopardize our students’ futures. The plan to furlough teachers and close Stratford Public Schools for two days before the end of the year would be harmful and disruptive to students, teachers, parents, and the community. We are already doing more with less, and our schools can’t absorb more cuts that would result in even fewer resources, the elimination of programs for students, larger class sizes, as well as teacher layoffs and involuntary teacher transfers. When students lose their teachers, that impacts their classroom environment and puts their learning at risk, all in the middle of the school year.”
Of course, Fiorello was quick to add that he was willing to work out an option “that is fair for all of us and will allow us to move forward this school year without disruption to the hundreds of students in our public schools.”
It was never about the students, but all about demonstrating the necessity and toughness for a union that simply siphons money out of the system like a parasite – careful not to kill the host altogether. The one solution the union almost always refuses to recognize is the use of parents and other voluntary labor in and out of the classroom. The custodians, the secretaries, and non-exempt (non-union) people will take the two furlough days and understand any raises have been canceled. At least they will be employed and not have their lives totally disrupted, unlike the 40 teachers who will be laid off.
Having a union is not always a good thing. Especially when they play hardball with their member’s lives, reward seniority over merit, and exist mostly to keep the money flowing into their ginormous health, welfare, and pension funds.