Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Medford teacher's union files labor complaint


The Medford teachers union filed an unfair labor practice complaint this morning against the Medford School District concerning a newsletter about teacher contract negotiations sent home with students and mailed to district residents.

The Medford Education Association and district officials, who have been in negotiations for a new contract since February, are at odds over salaries, benefits, preparation time and duties.

Teachers at six or seven elementary schools were told to send the newsletter about negotiations home with students April 21.

The newsletter stated that the teachers’ contract proposal was “not a ‘fair and equitable’ trade-off for the students who would face larger classes or for the taxpayers who expect their schools to operate efficiently.”


I am quite unaware of the ins and outs of labor negotiations with the Medford SD and its teachers. But expecting teachers to send home notices like that--which make them look bad--is unreasonable and silly. No wonder the Union filed.

Its one thing for the District to hold open forums and have public discussions about possible unfair demands being made by labor. But its quite another to expect teachers to pack up a note to send home with kids like that.

District Superintendent Phil Long said, “We do have an obligation to communicate what we think are the facts because the community has a stake in how we resolve employee contracts.”

Does Long think the residents of Medford are stupid? No one is arguing the Districts obligation to inform the public and recognize their stake. But the District also has an obligation to maintain a good faith relationship with its teachers. That's pretty tough to do when you force them to send a home a letter with their students that badmouths them.