Teachers Union Betting District 207 Blinks First


Today we are taking a break from the financial travails of one public body (the City of Park Ridge) and looking at those of another: High School District 207.

As reported in yesterday’s on-line Park Ridge Herald-Advocate (“District 207: Teachers union rejects job-saving concessions,” March 9), the teachers union voted “no” on a School Board request that they re-open their contract in order to save some or all of the 75 teachers being laid off to help fill a $17 million budget hole.

Why doesn’t that surprise us? 

This vote confirms that simply foregoing raises – rather than actually taking wage cuts, as is happening for so many who toil in places other than the fantasyland of unionized government employment – is unthinkable to those union teachers who feel entitled to their roughly 8-month work year, their virtually guaranteed employment, and benefits that private sector workers don’t even dare dream about anymore. 

But while the hopelessly naïve among us might think the union “no” vote makes the 75 lay-offs a done deal, we’ve been around these kinds of goings-on too long to jump to that conclusion.

The first clue that it ain’t over ’til it’s over was Supt. Ken Wallace’s comments (as reported in another H-A story from March 2: “District 207: Looking for a few good financial experts”) that the District provided the union with “probably 10 different scenarios” for saving those jobs, and then iced the union’s cake even more by publicly admitting that: “We’re in no position to turn almost anything down.  If they come with some sort of offer, it’s something we’d have to consider.”

We’re sure glad he’s not part of the U.S. team negotiating nuclear non-proliferation with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And even after the teacher’s union voted to figuratively kick District 207 in the you-know-what, Wallace’s response was more spineless than solid – starting with his blubbering about this being “a very difficult process for our teachers and teacher assistants” and his gratitude “that [the union] thoughtfully considered our request in the context of these difficult economic times.” 

All that was missing was “Thank you, sir; may I have another?”

One of the reasons District 207 is in its current fix is that for years its Board and Administration gave the teachers union pretty much everything it wanted.  That’s a mindset – on both sides – that won’t change very quickly, as evidenced by how the union members brazenly called the District’s bluff by appearing to throw their own under the bus.

That’s because they are confident that “the bus” will slam on its brakes just before impact.

And after years of watching wimpy school board members go belly-up for the teachers unions, that’s what we’re betting on, too.

5 comments so far

I’m no fan of the teachers unions, but the claim “its Board and Administration gave the teachers union pretty much everything it wanted” sounds a little superfluous without any substantiation.

FIQ… you are kidding, right? Do you know anything about teacher contracts ro pensions?

FireInTheQuarry on 03.10.10 6:16 pm:

How many years since the last teachers’ strike in Dist. 207? Guess why…and if you need help in coming up with a reason, dig up your old property tax bills and look at the increases in Dist. 207’s portion over the years.

The same goes for Dist. 64, where the teachers were on strike for a week in 2003 before getting guaranteed annual raises that (to the best of our recollection) outpaced inflation. And the last teacher strike before that was way back in 1979.

Just last year the Dist. 64 Board gave their teachers a 3-year contract for what amounts to a 4.5%/year raise (counting “step” increases) despite the cost of living remaining flat – a fact which, incredibly, the Board and Administration now complain about because it combines with the tax caps to limit increases in their property tax revenues!


The bottom line is that teaching in a suburb like Park Ridge is a really sweet deal, despite all the whining by the teachers and their cheerleader/apologists: You have to show up for work about 8 months/year; you’re off almost every day your kids are, including summers; it’s almost impossible to be fired; your employer will never close down or relocate to Mexico or Thailand; and you can qualify for a great fixed-benefit pension (and health care) by the time you’re 55.

Next question, FIQ?

Look at either contract, 207 and 64. The increases in bas contracts in each of the three yeat contracts including Step(Step means showing up for the next year. Increased education is another add on) is 6.5%-7% per year for each year

Let them have a union, but make it illegal for them to strike, ever.

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