To the editor:
The recent television ad regarding the Chicago teachers' strike is misleading. Proposal 2 will not make strikes by teachers legal. Strikes have always been illegal and will continue to be illegal even after Proposal 2 is passed. That is why when and if teachers do strike, it is usually for reasons other than money, just like the Chicago strike.
Chicago teachers were offered a 16-percent raise over four years. The union rejected the offer because money was not the issue. Fair treatment in the workplace was the issue. The settlement was much lower than 16 percent. The teachers couldn't be bought off.
Proposal 2 deals with collective bargaining. Recently passed legislation has stripped away the ability to protect jobs and classroom conditions. The excuse "It has to be easier to fire bad teachers," is really masking the real goal - it has to be easier to get higher paid teachers off the payroll. A first-year teacher earns about $20,000 per year less than a teacher with 15 years of experience.
Proposal 2 guarantees nothing except the ability to bargain over working conditions like class size, the length of the school day (within state guidelines), layoff and recall procedures, employee discipline and employee evaluations. These items have been deemed non-permissible topics of bargaining. Proposal 2 does not guarantee salaries, benefits or the right to strike.
Teachers care about your children almost as much as you do. Collective bargaining permits them the ability to stand up for student rights as much as their own rights in the workplace. A teacher's work environment is the students' learning environment.
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Vote Yes on Proposal 2.
TERRY A. LAJEUNESSE