Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Donald Russ. Reader Forum articles represent the writer’s opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy on Reader Forums.
By Donald Russ
The purpose of a strike is to cause injury. There is nothing friendly about it. Your contract expired in June but it would not be disruptive to strike in the summer so you dragged your feet until school started. It may be legal but it is also cruel.
All three issues related to your pay. This was never about working conditions – you are not coal miners. Indeed, you cheapen the labor movement. Stop talking about the future of LFHS. Putting more money in your pocket does not inure to the benefit of the students nor the taxpayers.
The two tiers and the health insurance have been resolved – the only remaining question is the amount of your pay raise over the next three years. Compounded, the board offered you 9.7 percent. You still demand 18.8 percent. This at a time that the national unemployment rate has exceeded 8 percent for an historic 43 months.
You are not willing to agree to a pay increase and you are not willing to work. Two-thirds of my real estate tax goes to schools. The courts, county records, the streets and the sheriff are all paid from that last third. I don’t think you appreciate what an unsympathetic bunch you appear to many of us.
But you still have an individual option: You can work without a contract. Just show up at school and you will be welcomed. Instead of saying that you care, you can show it. The district will pay you and discussions can continue. It would show good faith. That is the basis of most employment relationships where there is no union that substitutes a contract for mutual respect.
Don’t take advice from Mark Stein. You are most useful to him as martyrs.
Right now, you ARE like the rest of us. You don’t have a contract and you are not entitled to a job. A requirement of employment is that you show up for work. I can’t imagine how you think that not working strengthens you position. I know that 30 of you voted against strike authorization. Cross the picket line before you are locked-out. LFHS can carry-on without you.
Take Chuck Gress, for example. He is a good calculus teacher and a good round-ball coach by all accounts. But he is also $150K when he is teaching and coaching. $75K is half his price but it is still a lot of money. We could get another good teacher/coach. We could get two. A taxpayer has to wonder why we shouldn’t take this opportunity that he has given us.
At the parents meeting on Sunday, Principal Hoffmann posed the question, “Why don’t we just fire them all?” which drew applause. He then answered it saying, “Because they are great people and we really want them back.” Which also drew applause. What you must understand is this:
The same people were applauding both times. Get back on the job or get out of the way. Your choice.