By Victor Skinner

CARMEL, Ind. – The Carmel, Indiana teachers union doesn’t believe school administrators should speak to teachers about their jobs.

Communication should only go through the union filter, according to the Carmel Clay Education Association.

That absurd argument is the basis of an unfair labor practice complaint the union recently filed with the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board.

The CCEA and the district are in the fact finding phase of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. The CCEA and district were set for a hearing in that process next Monday, but the union’s complaint halts the process until the EERB reviews it December 14, the Indianapolis Star reports.

“Brian Lyday, president of the teachers union, said the complaint centers on school board member Andrew Klein and Superintendent Jeff Swensson, along with ‘numerous building principals,’ who have allegedly been communicating directly with teachers regarding collective bargaining issues,” the Star reports.

“The complaint alleges these actions are being taken in an attempt to undermine the Carmel Clay Education Association’s bargaining rights and to interfere with teachers’ rights to participate in collective bargaining through representatives of their own choosing as guaranteed by Indiana law,” Lyday said in a press release, according to the Star.

In other words, the CCEA believes taxpayers – and by extension the administrators they’ve hired to manage schools – should not be able to communicate with their own employees about the conditions of their employment. The union wants to ensure it has the opportunity to interpret the meaning and intention behind the district’s message to teachers, and direct communication circumvents that filter.

Oh well. The teachers are the employees of the taxpayers and schools. They don’t work for the union. Taxpayers and school administrators should have every right to talk to their employees about whatever they want, whenever they want.

We commend school officials for striving to make it clear to teachers how collective bargaining could impact their jobs. Too often teachers don’t realize how their union’s selfish demands could lead to negative impacts that union members never envisioned. For instance, teachers unions are frequently willing to “eat their young” by sacrificing the jobs of younger members to secure expensive perks for older members.

The entire union mindset is focused on seniority, not teacher effectiveness or the best interests of students.

The CCEA’s attempt to prevent school officials from relaying their concerns to teachers is not only ridiculous and illogical, it’s a clear sign the union is worried its members may sympathize with school officials and the local community, rather than blindly accept what their union leaders tell them.

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