OK to replace striking workers?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Milsey, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Teachers are on strike in my area. The district already interviewed me this summer for a position. If the strike drags on and call me in, is it okay to go past the picket lines? I really need the experience . I only have 1 year so far.
    Students DO need an education.
     
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  3. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Keep in mind that many of the administrators will not consider the experience you gained while they were on strike in a positive light.

    For me, I'd never do it.

    The decision is up to you, you just need to think about it from all sides.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I'm interested in other thoughts...
     
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I wouldn't cross the picket line.
     
  6. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Me too, JustMe. For any other industry, my answer would be an automatic no, so why should teaching be any different?

    But, in the end, it's the kids who suffer. Of course, they will suffer in the end anyway if teachers are not treated properly, but that isn't much consolation to the kids who have AP exams or who need their free meals or safe place, or who are struggling behind grade level, etc.

    I personally wouldn't do it, but it's a tough issue. Nobody is going to give a rats rear if teachers strike in the summer. (I'm in a"right tinwork state.")
     
  7. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I wouldn't cross the picket line. It's an individual decision, and one I've had to make outside of teaching only once. I didn't cross the line.
     
  8. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    I would not cross the line. I am wondering though how you would feel if you did cross the line and later in the year worked at the school. Do you feel any of the teachers would think negatively toward you?
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    What are your thoughts?

    Pennsylvania is one of only a few states where teachers may strike. As a result, Pennsylvania is the leader of such work stoppages. Regardless, if you are ever hired in public school again, Milsey, you will be a union member. Pennsylvania is a good sized state, but it's a small world. I wouldn't wanted to burn any bridges by crossing the line.
    Plus, Milsey, didn't you accept a job in a 'learning center'? Were you thinking you would leave that job for a temporary position crossing the picket line? Probably not the most career enhancing move.
     
  10. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    If you were on strike, would you want others to cross your picket line?

    That is the question you need to ask yourself.
     
  11. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Are you in the Philly area? Just asking because I know, as czacza said, that PA strikes a lot, but I just don't see it in this area (Central PA). The unions here are pretty weak in my opinion, and I was expecting to come in to a strong union area.

    I would not cross picket lines. I would think you would have a hard time getting a job later especially in the same area of PA.
     
  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    If I needed the money to support myself or a family, I would have to think twice about crossing the picket line. Unemployment stinks when you have mouths to feed and, ultimately, you (generic you) need to do what you need to do to survive.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think there is a difference between a contracted teacher crossing the line and a sub crossing the line. If it's a sub we're talking about, cross away. If it's a contracted teacher....Do what you gotta do, but I wouldn't do it, and I'd struggle being supportive of any contracted teacher who did.

    Yes, it's rough for the kids when their teachers strike, but let's not forget that these strikes are never one-sided. They occur when two parties (the teachers and the district/state) can't reach an agreement. The admins, district, and/or state are not blameless. The responsibility is as much theirs as the teachers' for the fact that the students aren't learning during a strike.
     
  14. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I would not cross a picket line. I would figure there are other ways to get the experience (since that is the reason you listed for doing it). Also if it is at all like when the district I worked in was on strike 80% of the children were not at school. This created a not very realistic experience for anyone who did cross the picket line.

    The children are getting an education about labor movements at the very least. Like someone else said, it is not just one side who is at fault for the strike.
     
  15. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    We have 4 different teacher unions in the UK (Principals also have their own) If one or more union is on strike then the members of the other unions are allowed to cross picket lines but we refuse to teach the classes of the striking teachers (we teach our classes) and also we refuse to do the other duties of the strikers such as break (recess) duty or gate duty at the end of the day. Our unions back us up in this so that if a Headteacher insists we cover for strikers we can refuse and be safe. However the new schools being put in (Academies and Free schools) are not obliged to recognise the unions so at sometime soon we shall be having a test case over something like this.

    I should add that supply teachers (subs) can be employed to teach the classes of strikers but if they are in the stiking union they not expected to do so. Supply teachers in other unions can teach strikers classes with union approval.
     
  16. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    'Tinwork' never heard that, what does it mean please?
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think it's a typo and should be "right to work".
     
  18. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Living in Fla. we have no right to strike. In 69 or 70 ( I was in
    jr high) they did strike. Lots of good teachers lost their job.
    So big union stuff and strikes are foreign to Floridians like me.
    IF my family had no job and my kids were hungry I would have to
    think long and hard. I never say never ( oops).
    Tough decision. I dont think I would go on strike myself.
    Those states that do have WAY better benefits and salaries than I do (I am sure)
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Still forming an opinion, czacza...
     
  20. TripleTeach

    TripleTeach Rookie

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    Why would you have a hard time getting a job later?

    I would cross the line without hesitation. If the union at my school went on strike, I would show up and teach my students without hesitation.
     
  21. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    The admin are not usually the only ones on the hiring committee. Union members will likely be on said committee. Not to mention that sometimes the building admin support the teachers more than the district admin.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    That's unfortunate.

    Teachers like you will be the reason that you'll end up having to sign a contract to work more hours for less pay with fewer days off, less prep time, more students, more extra curricular responsibilities, and less support.
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    While it would devastate me to walk a picket line, I understand the importance of unity in any sort of labour dispute. I could never even consider crossing a picket line that the people I work with every day were walking.
     
  24. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    As the daughter and granddaughter of union workers, I could never cross a picket. I never do even when it is other unions on strike.
    The unions in my area of PA are close-knit and everyone knows everyone. If you crossed the line, you would have a hard time getting a job in a union school (FYI-I don't work in a unionized school but I would).
     
  25. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    Really

    I would also cross the line. I work in a nonunion state, and I get paid better than when i was in a union, and for the most part, I am treated better as well. My health benefits and my retirement are also better.

    Teachers frankly can't get paid less than they already do, and I already have no prep time, and do all my extracurricular for free, but it's because I love what I do!
     
  26. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Wouldn't that also imply there is not just one side who is at blame for the strike?

    Since the strikes are never one-sided and admins aren't blameless, that implies teachers and/or unions also share some of the blame for the strike.
     
  27. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Yes. Personally, I would.

    If it ever was an issue later on I'd have a white lie lined up.
     
  28. TripleTeach

    TripleTeach Rookie

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    It is also unfortunate that there are teachers who spend more time looking for grievances to file and counting up the minutes they are working than actually focusing on their students and teaching.
     
  29. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    I love what I do as well. Luckily, I have a great union that ensures I receive prep time and payment for extra hours worked.

    I LOVE my union! Thank you PFT!!!!!!!!!!:thumb:
     
  30. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    For me this is a totally hypothetical question, since we don't have union in my Catholic school. (Some do, but not mine.)

    I would like to think that my decision would be based on whether or not I felt the strike had merit-- whether, in my opinon, the union really had tried to resolve the situation fairly, not the party line about us vs them. And that if I thought the union was right, I would strike. And that if I though the union was playing games, I would cross the line.

    Then again, perhaps if my kids were hungry and I needed a paycheck, it might be a different story.
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I have never met a teacher who fits this description.
     
  32. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    You've never met a teacher that refused to work a minute past their contracted hours per day? Never met a tenured teacher that comes in, hands out worksheets and just puts in his/her time till the end of the day?
     
  33. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Everyone knows someone like that. Every occupation has clock watchers and whiners. This union thing is gonna get dungeoned pretty soon but it is fun. Right now teachers are a target and used as a political football. No, it aint fun being kicked around but politicians will do and say anything to get elected. I know that up north unions are used as hammers for salaries and benefits. In Fla they have little power. If common people would quit listening to hate mongers on the radio, lying politicians and the such and ACTUALLY went into a school and observed what we do everyday they would have more empathy for teachers.
    As for me I love my job, the people around me and mostly THE KIDS. Since I have taught forever I make enough to live on.
    Sadly, many of the single younger ones here are borderline poverty.
     
  34. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I don't know all the teachers at my new job yet, but we were in and out of classrooms at my last job, as was admin, and I can honestly say that everyone at my last job worked longer than their contracted time (they might grumble about it) and no one handed out worksheets and left, even the guy who told me he was only teaching one year past his retirement so he could know the feeling of teaching and being able to quit whenever he wanted.

    I am dead serious. I don't know ANY teacher complained about working ONE MINUTE over the contract, or who passed out worksheets every day.

    ETA: I have heard an admin give a teacher a hard time for leaving 5 minutes early one day (20 minutes after students had left) because she needed to make an appointment. And at my last job they stood by the sign in sheet and started highlighting names for of people not signed in 30 SECONDS after we were supposed to be at work.
     
  35. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    That's not the description that was given. This is the description:

    teachers who spend more time looking for grievances to file and counting up the minutes they are working than actually focusing on their students and teaching.

    As for the description in your post, Cerek, sure I've known teachers who don't work beyond their contract hours. There's nothing wrong with that. The hours are outlined in the negotiated agreement. It's not acceptable to hold people to terms that don't exist in a contract.
     
  36. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    And my description said nothing about people being held to terms that don't exist in a contract. I asked about teachers that leave the minute their contract day ends. I believe those that arrive at the exact moment of their beginning time and leave at stroke of quitting time could easily fit the previous description of teachers that are "counting minutes".

    While I suppose it is possible to get all of the necessary planning, grading and other tasks done within that contracted time, I believe most teachers would agree planning engaging lessons often takes more than the allotted planning time scheduled during the contracted day.
     
  37. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    So how do you know that the teachers who go home at the contracted time are not then working at home doing prep and marking?
     
  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I disagree that starting at contract and leaving at contract qualifies as "counting minutes". It's simply looking at the clock, which we do all day long as classes begin and end.

    Your description referenced teachers who refuse to work a minute after their contract time ends. I added my own commentary that I believe that as long as the teacher works their contracted hours, what they do beyond that is irrelevant. That was my own commentary, not me telling you what you wrote.

    I apologize for misreading your post. The tone I perceived was that you were implying that it was a bad thing for teachers to start at contract and leave at contract. Honestly, that still is the tone I perceive, especially after your clarification, but if you insist on saying that you didn't say or imply that and I am misunderstanding, so be it and I apologized above.
     
  39. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I don't. However, we've had many threads discussing unions, tenure and other aspects of teaching and in those threads, many members have commented on coworkers that leave the minute the bell rings and don't arrive in the morning until they absolutely have to. The implication being, from those comments, that these teachers are putting in their required time and that's all. That would qualify them as "counting minutes" during the day. It is also the general implication of those comments that these teachers do NOT do any extra work at home and are considered by their peers to not be good/effective teachers because they don't put in the time needed to prepare engaging lesson plans, create proper assessments and grade the work that has been done by their students.

    None of that has been stated here, but these general sentiments have been expressed in previous threads dealing with similar issues.
     
  40. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I think going on "implications" is not wise. An outsider looking in would probably see me as a "minute counter". I clock in at 7:45, the exact minute I'm supposed to, and I typically leave at the 4:00 bell, the exact minute I'm supposed to.

    That said, I am extremely organized. Yes, I'm tooting my own horn. I schedule each minute of every plan period, and every day's plan period has a different task so I don't forget anything. I give up time during lunch, I don't stand in the hallway unnecessarily, I do whatever it takes so that I can go home to be with my kids. I save materials carefully from year to year, and I have spent a lot of time getting together a carefully laid out plan for the year so that I know exactly what to have done before it needs to be done. My bulletin boards are useful to students and don't change during the year. I don't spend a ton of time on decorating my room, but it is comfortable, organized, and spotless. I never walk out unless I can walk in the next morning and immediately teach. And my poor student aide...he runs from minute 1 to minute 52, completing tasks.

    And I don't take work home, ever, except for a few days before school starts and after it begins.

    What I'm trying to say is that judging teachers based on when they arrive and leave is not always accurate.
     
  41. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    That's pretty much what I was thinking as well- it would depend on what the strike was for and whether I thought it had merit, and either way if it was the only way I could get some income I'd have to do it anyway. The union here just isn't very strong at all- we have one but I'm not a member (although I fully support unions being allowed to exist- I simply can't afford the dues). We don't have a "union rep" in my building or anything and if one did need assistance I'm not sure who you would even contact. I know of a few situations around the district where union should have been able to do something and weren't able to.

    I personally hate it when I hear other teachers talking about someone coming in right on time and leaving right on time as if that person is lazy or bad. They have no idea what goes on in that teacher's life. Maybe they spend hours working at home, or maybe they come on weekends. I'm not a morning person so unless it's an absolute emergency I NEVER come in before contracted time. I also rarely stay past contract time, especially when I start doing the after school program which goes until 6. If someone were to be watching when I come in and leave, they could easily think I'm a "minute counter." However, I come in for a few hours most weekends and often take work home with me on weekdays as well. I just prefer to do extra work at home on my couch with the tv on rather than spending countless hours in my classroom.
     

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