Here’s a good story for all you trickle-down, union-busting, anti-labor, anti-public worker economists out there…and it’s true:
The Republican Iowa Legislature and Governor (soon to be ambassador to China) are railroading Iowa’s public employees with a bill that will gut 40 years of Collective Bargaining. This bill goes into effect immediately upon signature. Right now dozens of local education associations are in the process of bargaining contracts for 2017-18 and with this extremist bill all but sure to pass they are in an uncommonly weak bargaining position.
Generous superintendents and school boards are negotiating contracts now, before the bill goes into effect. The more brazen ones will wait until the bill passes and dictate everything but base salary. My local and school board came to an agreement Monday night while I was standing in the rotunda of the statehouse with about 1000 of my public employee brethren.
To say this is the worst agreement I’ve seen in nineteen years of association membership would be an understatement, but I am confident it is the best our negotiation team could get with a gun to their head. One of the most egregious lines is the one that states that anyone submitting coursework to move over salary lanes will be given a one-time payment of $500 and not moved. A very good deal for the district indeed.
I have a friend, colleague and member of my instructional team that is two summers into a three summer masters program. He has three young children who are cared full-time by his wife. He leaves them every June to pursue advancement in his craft and also his pay scale. He works more than 40 hours a week on his school job plus continuing work on his degree. He has taken out student loans to pay for this continuing education. He is loved by his students and is a vital member of our faculty as an instructor and member of the school leadership team. His educational plan has been approved by the human resources department with the understanding that once he gets his diploma he will be granted a lane increase in addition to his step increase.
Now he gets a one-time payment of $500. He figures he just took an annual haircut of over $9000 in expected income. Plus he has student loans to repay that he obviously figured would be covered by additional income. This was not a risky bet to take because this is how it has been in public education in Iowa for over 40 years. For the life of me I can’t figure why this hard-working teacher should have to leave his job, sell his house, and send his wife back to work to cover this.
Apparently the Republican leaders of the Iowa House, Senate and the Governor think this is economic development. I’ve been a voter for over two decades and have yet to see evidence that the benefits of trickle-down economics ever get to the people who actually do work. And I’ve been in the education business for at least as long and consistently I am shown that the people who advocate for these economic policies have an absolute disdain for those of us that work with children, or in any human services industry for that matter.
So, yeah. That’s how this all is going down in my neighborhood. How’s the champagne and caviar on your side of the tracks?