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July 23, 2008

Teachers union contract

Maintaining a balance of power is vital to the life and effectiveness of large institutions such as the Kansas City Missouri School District. Yet the district administrators apparently are seeking to destroy that balance by unilaterally voiding the contract with the teachers’ union (7/10. Local, “Superintendent search faces two-week delay; Board has questions about selection process, while teachers clamor for a new contract”).

Teachers unions arose in the first place because teachers’ professional and civil rights needed protection from capricious, dictatorial administrators. Do we really want to go back to the dark ages?

If the district imposes a contract on the union, they will wipe out teachers’ rights with one stroke. Cronyism and favoritism will run rampant in a district where lack of trust is endemic.

The result will be a brain drain such as the district has never seen. Over the years, teachers with a vision for students have been outmaneuvered in a variety of ways. This move will trump them all.

Marla Unruh
Kansas City



I don't get this one. I'm not sure why the letter writer thinks the district is "imposing" anything on the union. As with all labor agreements, the union is fully within their rights to say "NO" to any proposal.

Here's what is actually happening, as the original article will attest. The current teacher's union contract expired. In the past, the school district has voluntarily extended the terms of the old contract until new terms are reached, significantly reducing their bargaining position. This time around, they decided that once the current contract expired, they would negotiate the terms of the new contract before the school year. Seems like smart bargaining to me.

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