You can almost feel the Seattle Times editorial board gloating after a King County judge levied sanctions on Kent teachers—an onerous $200 per day, per teacher, retroactive—but if I were a Kent teacher, rather than go back to work, as the district, court and Times demand, or stay on strike and pay the fine, I’d simply quit my job.
Really. I know myself, and I simply couldn’t do my job to the best of my ability, knowing that I was working for an employer who disrespected me. And in asking for sanctions while rejecting a contract offer below it’s own original proposal, the Kent School District has shown its teachers an incredible amount of disrespect.
When the Kent teachers union made an offer Thursday morning that was $200,000 less than the Kent School District’s own bottom line yet would still reduce class sizes, teachers thought they had a solution that would bring an end to the now 16-day strike.
They were hoping to reach a tentative agreement before a 1 p.m. hearing before the judge who had issued an injunction Sept. 1 ordering the teachers back to the classroom on Sept. 8.
So when the district rejected the union’s offer — and made no plans for future bargaining sessions — the teachers were stunned. […] Then came King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas’ sanctions — $200 a day per teacher, retroactive to Sept. 8, and $1,500 a day for the teachers union if teachers are not in class and ready for students on Monday.
Rather than bargaining in good faith the district obviously chose to use the courts to force teachers back to work on the district’s terms, leaving the union with little or no bargaining power. Well fuck that.
Just because the district can use the courts, doesn’t mean it should, and given the choice between breaking my union or paying a fine I can’t afford, I’d simply choose neither. I mean, why the hell would I want to work for bastards like that?
Of course, this contract dispute will be settled in the end—they always are—and few if any teachers will quit their jobs in the process. But the bitterness will remain, and it will surely exact a toll on the district, the teachers and the students for years to come. So while the Times vindictively celebrates the district’s victory in court, in the end, everybody loses.