By Ben Velderman
LAS VEGAS – The end of the current school year is less than two months away for Nevada’s Clark County School District. While students eagerly wait for the start of their summer vacation, many of their teachers likely have knots in their stomachs, wondering if they’ll have a job when school starts up again in the fall.
One thousand young, less-senior teachers are in jeopardy of being laid off – thanks to their union’s hardball contract negotiations with district officials over a proposed pay freeze. The district says that if the local teachers’ union – the Clark County Education Association – accepts a pay freeze for 2011-13, no teachers will be laid off.
CCEA leaders have steadfastly refused that deal.
An arbitrator has been called upon to choose between the two sides, and a ruling is expected at any time.
If the 1,000 less-senior teachers aren’t already appalled at their union’s willingness to throw them overboard in order to secure raises for senior members, the latest wrinkle in the long-running drama should do the trick.
The Las Vegas Review Journal reports Clark County school officials have taken the unheard of step of filing a complaint with a state government board, charging that CCEA leaders have not been bargaining in good faith.
More to the point, the district charges that CCEA leaders have been playing games with the negotiating calendar, saying that they’re available to negotiate on certain days, only to cancel those times as the district negotiators attempt to schedule talks.
Why would a union keep moving the goalposts, with the livelihoods of so many of its members at stake?
“The assumed motivation, according to the district: Stalling means 18,000 teachers will continue earning pay raises,” reports the Review Journal. “The raises keep coming because teachers continue to work under the old contract until a new contract is settled.”
The automatic raises could cost the district $40 million, which would lead to even more teacher layoffs.
“It’s unfortunate that union bosses continue to risk jobs by dragging out the process,” district spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson told the paper. “(The raises) could mean more and more jobs lost.”
(No word yet from CCEA leaders on how their stall tactics are really designed to benefit the children.)
Through its unabashed greed, the teachers union is forcing the district to the brink of a financial and staffing crisis.
Kudos to the Clark County school officials for standing up to these union bullies.
The only way to stop out-of-control school employee unions is by publicly exposing their motives and dirty tricks.
We hope school board members and superintendents across the country are paying attention.