They have starkly different visions of what that is. Teachers want to hold the line on salaries, class sizes, and policies regarding displacements and transfers. School administrators, facing state and federal mandates to improve performance and the prospect of yet more budget cutbacks, want more flexibility from the teachers union so that they can deal with those challenges.
If it’s public or private, “flexibility” means management does whatever the hell it wants without any accountability.
Tacoma’s teachers should vote today not to strike, to keep teaching and to continue negotiating without a contract. If they do vote to strike, the administration should immediately seek a court injunction. Any judge that gets the case should assess daily fines on teachers who do not report to their classrooms.
However Tacoma teachers vote today, I oppose this anti-union strategy. A strike is a big deal, and I think it’s fair to say that they would prefer to be teaching. But the teachers know what’s at stake more than the ed boards, and if 80% of members are willing to strike, it says more about the administration than the union.