By Steve Gunn
OXFORD, N.J. – At least one New Jersey resident is disgusted by a teachers union effort to use the Newtown tragedy as a ploy to gain public support during collective bargaining negotiations.
In a letter to the editor of the Express-Times, Della Lauziere of Oxford complains that the Oxford Education Association recently mailed a form letter to members of the community, asking for support in its negotiations with the local school board.
Lauziere had two problems with the union letter.
The union claims that it’s in its second year of working without a contract. But as Lauziere points out, state law allows union members to continue to work under the desirable provisions of the expired contract until a new collective bargaining agreement is negotiated with the school board. The teachers have not lost a penny. They are not suffering at all.
But Lauziere saved her harshest criticism for the part of the union letter that refers to last month’s horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.
The union letter says the teachers “have been deeply affected by the recent tragedies in Connecticut,” and goes on to say “how we too send our kids to school every day and take for granted that their teachers are taking care of them,” according to Lauziere.
The implication is obvious – Oxford teachers are also caring teachers, therefore parents should support their effort to obtain a new collective bargaining agreement based on their financial demands.
But the letter apparently never mentions the details of the union’s demands, or how much those demands might cost the school. It simply asks for the parents’ blind loyalty, based on the emotional pull of the Newtown tragedy.
Lauziere finds that tactic disgusting.
“It is clear this letter had another agenda,” she wrote. “I find it reprehensible to use such a horrific event such as the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre for personal and political gain. It is an obvious ploy to reach out to the community under the guise of care and concern for our children. It is outrageous and insulting, not only to the reader, but to the victims and their families, and anyone else affected by this tragic event. The members of the OEA should be ashamed of themselves.”
Very well put, Ms. Lauziere.