Thursday, December 19, 2002


Told you so. As I reported on StatePaper.com last year, the teachers' union in Crete, Neb., went to court to fight a piddling hiring bonus that the school district wanted to pay to recruit a teacher in a highly competitive specialty . . . and won.

So teachers, when you come to the public asking for more pay, don't look at us taxpayers. LOOK AT YOUR OWN UNION! THEY'RE THE BAD GUYS, NOT US! :>)

As reported by the Education Intelligence Agency, www.eiaonline.com, in 2001, Matthew Hintz, an industrial arts technology teacher, was hired by the Crete school district for $2,350 more than the district's usual starting salary. Hintz was the only qualified applicant, and that's how much he wanted. The district placed him at step one on the salary schedule, and added a $2,350 "bonus" to cover the difference between base salary and what he had been promised.

The Crete Education Association filed a complaint with the state Commission of Industrial Relations, claiming this arrangement was a "deviation" that violated the collective bargaining agreement. The commission, which is packed with pro-union people, agreed. If you browse through back issues of the Nebraska teachers' union publication, The Voice, on its website (www.nsea.org) you'll see them trumpeting this case and how "bad" it is to pay one teacher more than any other.

The district appealed, but the Nebraska Supreme Court decided 7-0 last week that districts cannot bypass the union to pay teachers more. A deal's a deal . . . so even if we WANT to pay good teachers more, we can't, because of the union contracts that tie both sides down.

That's why collective bargaining has to go, to help public education encourage good people to enter the field, and to break the union's irrational power and control over this most basic employment right of educators: the right to be paid what they are worth.

You think unions aren't crazy? Consider what the EIA reported is going on in Arizona. The Scottsdale Education Association filed a grievance against its own school district for its plan to spend as much as $500,000 on teachers who serve on committees or as club advisers. The union wants the money divided among ALL the district's teachers . . . whether they served, or not.

No kidding, folks: the unions have to change, or they have to go.

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