MTEA’s Unreasonable & Irresponsible Refusal to Negotiate to Save the Jobs of MPS Teachers
It might make for great chest thumping and quotes in the paper, but blaming Scott Walker isn't really an effective strategy for preventing teachers, school nurses and counselors from being laid off.
If the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association agreed to the pension contribution, the $19.2 million generated could save 198 teaching positions, including 51 positions in the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education, or SAGE, program, according to district estimates. That program allows an 18-to-1 student-to- teacher ratio in kindergarten through third grade at schools with qualifying low-income children.
The pension contribution savings also could restore 22 nurses and one nursing supervisor position, plus 27 art and music teachers, said Board President Michael Bonds, who proposed that the union be approached for the concession as the board wrestled with its budget for the 2011-'12 fiscal year.
The board's proposal to seek a pension contribution from teachers will be a tough sell. The union will not return to the table, since it already settled a contract that runs through 2013, according to Mike Langyel, MTEA president.
"We have already negotiated deep savings to this district," Langyel said, when reached at home Tuesday night. "We are not willing to negotiate. We have concluded bargaining. We are willing to work with the School Board to get proper funding from Madison." – jsonline.com
Yes, I also believe that Gov. Walker has a lot of culpability regarding the funding mess districts are finding themselves in (a discussion for another day)! But to simply say, "we're not willing to negotiate" period, is irresponsible and frankly not in the best interests of the majority of the members MTEA is supposed to be representing – not to mention MPS students.
This may not sit well with some people, but it needs to be said. I support the right to unionize 110%. I support public school workers who are represented by MTEA 110% as well – my wife is one of them even. What I don't support is the leadership of any organization – unions or otherwise – taking unreasonable, stubborn and irresponsible stances on issues which aren't in the best interest of those they represent.
For MTEA to not even be willing to talk about negotiating so that hundreds of their own members can be in schools next year instead of the unemployment line is ridiculous. There's solidarity and there's selfishness. Sadly, MTEA and Langyel are exhibiting the latter in this case.
..And MTEA wonders why they have a problem with their public image.