Today, the Jefferson County Education Association (read: the Jeffco teachers union) voted to adopt the contract that they spent all last week complaining about. This begs the question – could the union not organize their members to reject the contract?
Here is an example of what the union had to say about the contract in various publications over the past week:
“Paula Rutan, an English teacher at Dunstan Middle School in Lakewood, doesn’t know how she’ll vote on a proposed teacher contract between the Jefferson County school district and teachers union.
‘I don’t even know if I’m going to bother,’ she said, explaining her frustration with both the school board and the Jefferson County Education Association. ‘We’ve gotten into the middle of nothingness.'”
Ooops. Guess she didn’t get the union-mandated union talking points. Note: when a member of the union, you aren’t supposed to “express frustration” with the union.
If the teachers hated the contract, which even the Denver Post said was probably a good contract, then why vote yes?
Chief among the complaints was the contract’s duration – it was ten months and the union wanted three years. But, who has a contract these days? We’re an at-will state, so nobody has a contract. It’s unclear why the union painted themselves into a corner where the length of contract is the greatest issue when the vast majority of Coloradans don’t have contracts.
In fact, Jeffco is only one of just a quarter of 178 state school districts that even uses collective bargaining. Frankly, the union is lucky that they even have a contract, with how obnoxiously it has behaved over the past year (see: MeanGirlz). The board and district should have cut the union down at the knees.
But, what would happen if the union in Jeffco failed? As the largest school district in the state, it would be a disaster for every other teacher union in the state, and would send shockwaves across the country.
Perhaps that’s why the union voted yes – because deep down, the union knows that the union heyday is behind us, and they are terrified of continuing the slide into irrelevance.