Tuesday, February 09, 2010

My job is to enforce the contract

and through this, I protect the right of due process for teachers. This is something that sounds so simple when put down in a sentence, but it is a far harder concept for those on the outside to understand.

Recently, a situation arose in which the contract was violated. It was an overt violation and will result in a grievance being filed. The very direct result will be that a teacher's right to due process is being protected and her job will be secure for another year.

To those on the outside, they might look at a situation such as this and loudly proclaim that the union is protecting a bad teacher because after all that's what we do.

However, every single meeting that I have had with school site administrators and district officials is that if they have any questions regarding something in the contract, they merely need to pick up the phone to call or send me a quick e-mail. The situation that I allude to above could have been resolved had the principal given me a call. It was very clear that she did not have a clear understanding of a particular article, which resulted in her violating this teacher's rights as defined by the contract. Her actions were not vicious and I do not see her as doing something intentionally wrong.

I see it as part of my duties as president of my association to also help administrators understand what is in the contract. I just get really frustrated because instead of seeing me as a resource, they view my role as a hindrance. So, I guess that grievances will continue and my role as an adversary to administrators will continue.


Anonymous said...

A contract is only as strong as the members want it to be. I hope your fellow teachers and union members appreciate your efforts on behalf of ALL of them through your defense of ONE of them.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I am so interested to hear both sides of the union issue--having looked at it from a parent's perspective all these years.

Ryan said...

It's interesting how many people don't understand that, isn't it? I have a teacher in need of improvement, and another teacher asked why I as union president was protecting them from being fired. I told them I wasn't--I was protecting the contract, which matters for every member in the union.

That's why I get pissy with my principals sometimes; don't make me the fall guy for mistakes you made when you didn't bother to read the agreement for the contract that your district negotiated in good faith.