(courtesy of In The Lobby):
The New Jersey Schools Boards Association is asking the teachers unions to agree to renegotiate contracts to stop layoffs. But some local unions have already said they would not reopen their contracts, all but assuring layoffs of their members. In Rockaway Township, for example, which is slated to lose $2.3 million, the teachers union said no when asked, according to the Daily Record. The district, as a result, is looking at layoffs, tax hikes and program cuts to make up the difference.
So we ask: How does it make sense to reject out of hand a solution that could save jobs?
Is it more important for some members to keep their raises and free health insurance premiums intact, than it is for other members to lose their jobs?
And if it is, then who really is responsible for the layoffs?
One side note: NJEA’s leaders have already advised local affiliates against re-opening contracts. So let’s ask the question again — “who really is responsible for the layoffs?” — and change it to a “what.” Answer: the imbalance of power between Trenton bosses and locals, which make it well-nigh impossible for district unions to show any independence, especially when guided during negotiations by an NJEA rep. Add to that the predilection of local bargaining teams to eat their young and the odds are small that the the elders of the a school district union will sacrifice personal compensation for the continued employment of the youngest and most vulnerable members of a unit.