Bargaining is good for all concerned
Saturday, February 26, 2011 02:51 AM
As a teacher and former president of the Worthington Education Association who participated in four rounds of contract negotiations, I question school board President Marc Schare's assertion that “there is no incentive for teachers unions to compromise” (“Officials praise limits on unions,” Dispatch article, Feb. 16). Really?
If the union had no incentive for compromise, why would it have agreed to implement a high-deductible health-care plan that resulted in lower district insurance costs in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 than were paid in 2005? Why would it have agreed to double its share of insurance premiums in the last contract? Or extended its contract with a base-pay freeze?
Why agree to changes in our reduction-in-force, sick leave and school-improvement-planning policies? If it were against compromise, why would it have waived contract provisions to pave the way for the creation of the innovative (teacher-created) Phoenix Middle School?
Good-faith compromise is inherent in the collective-bargaining process. Granted, Schare hasn't been happy with every aspect of every agreement made. The union isn’t, either. But bargaining is essential for our voice in our teaching and learning conditions. This benefits everyone: teachers, students, management and taxpayers.
Our experience in Worthington isn't unique. All across Ohio, collective bargaining has given educators a framework for problem-solving that has made strikes rare and minimized disruptions to student learning. Why wouldn't he want everyone in the community to benefit from this process?