Friday, January 13, 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed - Lie - Lie Again

apologize in advance for the title of this entry - with a journalism background, I am well aware of the power of words.  I have tried very hard to avoid provocative phrases and words in my postings, knowing that sharing the truth, even when stating it carefully, will still anger some people.  But this latest nonsense from the SEA has really frosted my cake.

Did you go to the home basketball game recently and get YOUR copy of their flyer??  They had plenty of them!  And they were passing them out to anyone and everyone they could!  Yup - these folks who look you right in the eye and claim solemnly that their biggest concern is "the children" thought nothing of trashing a home basketball game with their propaganda.  Every time I think they can't stoop any lower - they prove me wrong. 

What they might not realize is that these assaults are not winning them any friends - far from it.  As people learn the TRUTH, these ridiculous accusations by the SEA against the school Board are shown for the lies that they are.  Folks don't appreciate being lied to, ya know?  Half-truths and innuendos do not make you popular, no matter what your OEA rep tells you. . .

For those few who might not have seen this garbage from the SEA, allow me to share the highlights. 

First, the flyer whines that the Board's December implementation of the proposed contract was "not a contract" because they didn't agree to it.  It states that it is "indicative of a complete breakdown in the employee-management relationship".  Right you are!!  When you have one side of "negotiations" threatening to strike at the very first session (April 2011),  it's a safe bet to figure things are going to be a bit rocky.  When that same side refuses to present a counter proposal since June 2011, you can safely figure things are not going well.  When that same side refuses to actually talk until they see how Issue 2 fares in the November election, it's bad.  When a federal mediator is called in to help and even THAT person is unable to get them to see reason after several attempts, it's a fairly accurate statement to declare there's a "breakdown" in the "relationship". 

So that little piece in the flyer - while only a small piece of the story - is true.  They just neglected to tell you exactly which side caused the "complete breakdown".  a-hem

But then it gets completely wacko.

Next the writer(s) of the flyer reveal their mind-reading proclivity by stating that the Board's "full intention" is to "set a precedent where it will NEVER AGAIN be required to bargain in good faith." (emphasis added)  Say, what???  According to the SEA flyer, the Board will cause the teachers to lose the ability to negotiate over working conditions such as class sizes, etc.

I would not have believed it, had I not read it for myself. 

Lest we forget, here is what has their undies in a bunch:  they want a raise in the face of deficit spending, AND they don't want to pay 10% of their insurance premium.  That's it!!  That's what has them so hot and bothered!  How DARE the Board insist that they pay anything more than what they already pay - which is peanuts by any stretch of the imagination, whether you're comparing with other schools in the county or any other job in the nation that requires its employees to pay a portion toward benefits.  Please note that the benefit package itself was not changed - it's still the best one in the county.  All we had asked was for them to pay 10% of the premium - and on those months when the district took a moratorium on the premium (which means "skip a payment") the teachers would also skip that month's payment. 

How draconian!!  How UNFAIR!  How HURTFUL to our children!!


The flyer states the teachers are "doing everything within their power" to get the Board back to the table, but they need "your help".  The SEA kindly provided the contact information for each individual Board member so that You, John or Jane Q. Public could call or email to show how strongly you feel this is "unfair and unreasonable" of the Board toward the teachers, the poor dears.  Your calls, cards and letters will help "protect the integrity of education" of our kids, because - after all - the SEA only cares about "the children", right? 

Ex-cUUUUUse me, but when the very first meeting has the SEA declaring that if their demands are not met, they will STRIKE, who in their right mind could honestly view that as "doing everything within their power" to "bargain in good faith"??  How do they look at themselves in the mirror after statements made about "doing everything in their power" when they have presented NO counter proposal since last June??  As they maintained that attitude throughout the entire process, that is why the Board had to declare impasse in December and implement the contract, albeit for only 1 year (to June 30, 2012). 

Which reminds me - someone posted on Facebook in December that they were angry that former Board President Rick Ueberroth had said any strike days would be made up at the end of the year - in this person's opinion, that was a terrible thing to do to the kids.  (summer vacation, etc)  Here's the thing:  the last time the SEA went through this tired routine, the Board in office at that time made preparations to keep school open during the strike by contracting to have substitute teachers in the classrooms.  (As we all know, there are hundreds of teachers out of work who would give their right arm to have a job in NW Ohio.)  This Board preparation resulted in SEA members at Crestwood speaking in the presence of the children about the criminals that the Board was going to put into the classroom.  When a little kid tearfully asks his mom "what is a rapist?" you know something is very very wrong.  That is why if the SEA decides to strike over paying a measly 10% of their insurance premiums, school will be CLOSED until they return to the classroom with the days being made up at the end of the year.  

In their haste to get their flyer printed off, the SEA accidentally forgot to include contact information for their negotiating team members (with their OEA rep, who has a cavalier attitude toward the districts he represents - after all, his actions in those districts have no effect on him).  So in the interest of fairness, below is a list of the contact information of their team - feel free to contact them with your comments:

Josh Eppert   419-320-7935  (lives in Old West End Toledo)
Deisa Thielman   419-877-5594 (lives in Anthony Wayne school district)
Renee' Gothke   419-877-5532  (lives in Anthony Wayne school district)
JoEllen McDonnall   419-822-9035  (lives in Delta/P-D-Y school district)
and spokesman Steve Brehmer  419-825-3266  (the only one in this group who lives in the Swanton school district)

Please do not hesitate to contact your school board members with any questions you might have on this or any other issue in the district (they all are required to live in the district in which they are elected).

And I'm sure the SEA team members would also love to hear from you as well - just make sure you have fresh batteries in your B.S.-O-Meter before you call . . .

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