Hey, is anyone surprised Sen. Michael Baumgartner (or an intern in his office) is writing press releases in support a bill to dock teacher’s pay during strikes? No, nobody? I’m going to make fun of it anyway.
OLYMPIA… On the same day that teachers in the Seattle School District are planning to walk off the job, the state Senate Commerce and Labor Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would dock their pay.
On the same day that Michael Baumgartner is violating his oath by not supporting the paramount duty of the state — AKA, any day — he still managed to find time to complain about the people who actually educate children. Yes, he has helped make sure that teacher pay has been frozen for years. Not for nothing, but he’s literally using a special session where he’s supposed to find ways to fund education to try his hand at cutting teacher pay.
The work session and public hearing on Senate Bill 6116 is set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Senate Hearing Room 4. Officials of the Washington Education Association and other education groups have been invited.
The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, would for the first time impose a financial penalty on teachers who choose to break the law by going on strike. The proposal is especially timely this year, said committee chair Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane. Teachers affiliated with the WEA have voted to stage one-day walkouts in 55 school districts.
It’s like he isn’t aware that it’s the middle of a special session to fund education, and failing super hard. The most timely thing about this bill is a strike? Is he even trying? He’s aware that we can read, right?
“Let’s leave aside the political arguments for a moment,” Baumgartner said.
Seems unlikely, but let’s see what “leave aside the political arguments” looks like:
“The fact is that these strikes use our children as a political football. The teachers walk out and the parents have to stay home. The union is hoping parents will take out their anger on the Legislature. It’s a nasty game they play.”
So leaving aside the political argument is blaming someone else for your own shortcomings. Great. Again, if the legislature did their job, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
Teachers are protesting a Senate budget proposal that gives them their first cost-of-living increase since the Great Recession. The problem is the Democrats in the state House are offering them more. At the same time, both parties balk at paying for Initiative 1351, a class-size reduction measure backed by the teacher’s union that narrowly passed last year. The measure would require that 25,000 additional teachers and school employees be hired, costing $3.8 billion every two years when fully implemented.
Oh right. You’ve not passed teacher raises despite inflation still being a thing for the better part of a decade. Now you’ve decided that instead of fully making up that gap and paying for the other things you haven’t funded for a long time, not to mention what people just voted for, just dock teacher pay for a one day strike that will be made up at the end of the year anyway.
Sheldon noted that state law has always prohibited teacher strikes. In addition, most local schoolteachers’ unions have agreed to no-strike clauses in their contracts. Those rules are rarely enforced. When teachers walk off the job, strike days are generally made up at the end of the school year in the same manner as snow days, with full pay and benefits. Sheldon’s bill stipulates that no state money shall be used to compensate teachers when they go on strike. The intention is that teachers shall not be compensated when they make up strike days, he said.
In the previous paragraph he said he wouldn’t fund I-1351, despite it being state law. Throughout the entire press release, there’s no way to meet the Constitutional requirements spelled out in McCleary. Yet somehow, he’s super concerned with obeying the law? Also, is he saying strike days shouldn’t be made up, or just that the state shouldn’t pay for it? Either way, the bill is seeking to harm school districts to prove some sort of nebulous point. And have I mentioned how they’re failing their paramount duty?
“This is really a bipartisan concern,” Sheldon said. “I know of no other profession in which you get paid to go on strike. I’m glad we’re holding this hearing the same day the Seattle teachers are protesting the Legislature. Some of them may actually come down here and do it. That will give me a chance to ask why they think taxpayers should pay them to play hooky.”
Can whoever wrote this press release ask Tim Sheldon if he still gets paid by Mason County while he’s playing hooky in the legislature?