Our negotiators met with the school district for fourteen hours yesterday. Yes, fourteen. From 9am when the mediator go there until after 11:30pm. Not only is there no settlement, but apparently we're not even close. We expected that yesterday would be settlement day, or that, at the very least, enough progress would be made that we could stop our steps. But, we're still work to rule and there are no meetings between the two groups scheduled.
The only part that bothers me about the reaction to work to rule is that parents and members of the community are suggesting that we are "punishing" kids or even going so far as to suggest that we are "holding them hostage" by working to the letter of our contract. Excuse me? I mean, I'll buy into the argument that teachers are not the only ones who do extra work and who are facing high insurance costs, and that not all jobs have union protection, but come on. Working our job description is punishing the children of American? If that is the case, that's a really sad commentary on parents and on the role that teachers have been forced to take on in this society. We are not "limiting" our work. We are not failing to do our jobs. We are doing exactly what we are contractually obligated to do...nothing more, but also nothing less. And, as all of my friends will tell you who have had to deal with me in the last week and a half, work to rule is harder on teachers than on anyone else.
I'm so sick and tired of thinking about, talking about, writing about the settlement and the union and work to rule. Make no mistake, parents and community members, we're not enjoying this either.