CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. – Teachers who are upset with union contract negotiations in the Abington Heights School District are taking their frustrations out on students by refusing to write letters of recommendation.
The selfish move, which is a common pressure tactic among education labor unions, will undoubtedly impact the ability of students to apply to college or other post secondary programs, although district officials contend they’re working to address the issue, the Times-Tribune reports.
Union president James Maria told the new site teachers in the district aren’t required to write students recommendation letters, and they don’t plan to until the school board reconsiders its position on retroactive pay. School and union officials have been in negotiations for a new teachers union contract since the last one expired in 2011.
District Superintendent Michael Mahon, however, is not pleased the union has decided “to hold kids hostage because they want … a bigger pay check,” which he believes is not allowed, the Times-Tribune reports.
“And to the extent that the union believes that it is not their obligation, then we are heading toward an enormous conflict,” he said.
Mahon told the news site district administrators will ensure students receive their necessary recommendation letters.
The self-centered union tactic is designed to pressure school officials into agreeing to pay teachers a lump sum payment for automatic annual salary increases they didn’t receive in 2011-12 and 2012-13. District negotiators are offering to move teachers up the union salary schedule based on years worked after freezing the automatic raises for two years.
Junior Class President Alex Fried told the news site said students are worried that the contract disagreement could mean some won’t have the recommendations they need by November 1, the deadline for early college applications.
Currently, Fried “said teachers tell students who request a letter of recommendation either, ‘Sorry, I can’t at this time,’ or ‘Sorry, the current situation provided doesn’t allow me to at this time,’” the Times-Tribune reports.
Contract disagreement or not, it’s an awful cold move for educators to turn their backs on their students when they need them the most. It’s a very clear sign the local teachers union values pay and employee benefits more than the district’s mission of providing all students with a quality education.
It should also concern parents that the union is willing to sell their children down the river over money.
How can taxpayers trust the union or its members when they’re so willing to stab them in the back? What’s next if the union doesn’t get its way, a teachers strike?
Taxpayers and school officials would be wise to think long and hard about their reaction to the union’s temper tantrum, and withhold any raises until the district’s unionized teachers start acting like real professionals, instead of spoiled brats.