Baltimore teachers reject new contract

Baltimore teachers rejected a new contract that would have changed the traditional salary scale based on seniority and academic credits.

The proposed contract included pay raises and kept health benefits at their current rate. But some were wary of a provision that would have replaced a system where seniority and degrees determined pay with one where they were paid by effectiveness in the classroom and pursuit of professional development.

Some 58 percent of teachers rejected the contract.

The contract had been hailed as a sign that teachers’ unions are open to reform, notes Teacher Beat. Apparently, the leadership of the AFT-affiliated union couldn’t persuade its membership.

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  1. “Apparently, the leadership of the AFT-affiliated union couldn’t persuade its membership.”

    If it’s anything like the union leadership I’ve seen at the various schools I’ve worked at, I’m not surprised. There’s usually a better working relationship between the rank and file teachers and the administration than the union leadership. I’ve noticed that many who seek union positions have a “I know what’s best for you better than you do” attitude.

    It’s unfortunate that the individuals who would likely do the best job leading the union are usually otherwise occupied with extracurriculars or family obligations. They understand the give-and-take relationship needed to be successful with the administration and community and do not seek to be adversarial with every little issue. The leadership of our current union are all 1) not married, 2) without family, 3) not involved in any extracurriculars, 4) never seen at any after school events, and 5) widely viewed by teachers, administrators, and students to be some of the most negative people in the district.

    Despite what voodoo or public pressure the district employed to get the union leadership to accept the contract, ultimately teachers want security. Teachers, stereotypically, are cautious types who like to have a plan and desire structure. Major changes to their contracts, especially in the present economy, is a lot to ask for.

  2. Not all professions work under collective bargaining contracts. If moving away from strict seniority, perhaps the contracts are no longer needed.