By Steve Gunn
PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Teachers union leaders in the Parsippany school district are angry because negotiations have stalled over a new collective bargaining agreement.
So about 150 union members gathered at a school board meeting Thursday to throw their weight around. They told board members they were on hand to keep track of “what was going on, who said what, what was said and how it was said.”
A local resident then proceeded to give them an earful.
Pat Petaccia criticized the school board for failing to compromise with the union enough to finalize a teachers contract. But she saved most of her criticism for the union and didn’t mince any words.
“The teachers, in my opinion, have been treated very well,” Petaccia said. “When is the last time we asked them not to take a raise? When is the last time they didn’t get a raise? The town has passed almost every budget.
“We wish the teachers would understand the taxpayers and how we feel about this. We are being overburdened. All we’re asking for is some compromise.”
Pettacia said teachers should be willing to forego raises sometimes to help the district get by financially. She also criticized teachers who have been protesting the lack of a contract by refusing to volunteer for various after-school events.
“If you’re going to tell me that you don’t have a contract, and the board is coming to you with what they believe is in the children’s and taxpayers’ best interests, you should be compromising,” Pettacia said.
“For us to sit here for two years, waiting for a contract and getting blamed for it, and then having to go back and pay all that (retroactive pay) is getting quite ridiculous. Isn’t there a termination period where we just give up – and let these teachers walk out?”
Most of the teachers reacted to the statement by gathering their belongings and leaving.
That’s how much respect this particular union has for the people who pay the bills and their salaries. They want to push and shove and get their way, but when a taxpayer rises and suggests that everyone should compromise for the good of the district, they close their ears and walk out the door.
More than a few residents of Parsippany probably wish they would keep walking all the way to their next job or the employment line and stop plaguing their school district.