Guest Contribution by Arthur Green
School Board members arrived at their seats on Dec. 21 to find a letter from the Timberlane Teachers Association on top of their agenda material. To my knowledge, this has not been previously published. I obtained it a few days ago using Right to Know. Here it is:
The first complaint, against Mr. Boyle, is underlined by the invocation of unfair labor practices.
Here’s the RSA referred to in the letter:
273-A:5 Unfair Labor Practices Prohibited. –
I. It shall be a prohibited practice for any public employer:
(a) To restrain, coerce or otherwise interfere with its employees in the exercise of the rights conferred by this chapter;
(b) To dominate or to interfere in the formation or administration of any employee organization;
(c) To discriminate in the hiring or tenure, or the terms and conditions of employment of its employees for the purpose of encouraging or discouraging membership in any employee organization;
(d) To discharge or otherwise discriminate against any employee because he has filed a complaint, affidavit or petition, or given information or testimony under this chapter;
(e) To refuse to negotiate in good faith with the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit, including the failure to submit to the legislative body any cost item agreed upon in negotiations;
(f) To invoke a lockout;
(g) To fail to comply with this chapter or any rule adopted under this chapter;
(h) To breach a collective bargaining agreement;
(i) To make any law or regulation, or to adopt any rule relative to the terms and conditions of employment that would invalidate any portion of an agreement entered into by the public employer making or adopting such law, regulation or rule.
Mr. Boyle did not (a) restrain or coerce anyone. He didn’t (b) obstruct the formation of the TTA. He didn’t (c) discriminate in hiring in order to bust the TTA. He didn’t (d) fire anybody for filing a complaint. He didn’t (f) invoke a lockout, (h) breach the contract, or (i) make a law circumventing the contract.
So what we are left with is that Mr. Boyle may have (e) failed to negotiate in good faith if by that we mean that he spoke with a member of the public about the potential policy he would try to advance as an elected representative. Oh, and if he violated (e) then I suppose he also (g) failed to comply with this chapter of the law.
The TTA couches this as a complaint against Mr. Boyle, but it is actually an attack on its own members. As a member of the public, I can talk to any elected representatives, including Mr. Boyle, any time I want. I can learn how they are trying to influence issues, and I can try to influence them. Unless I am a member of the TTA. In which case I am to be deprived of my rights to communicate with elected representatives, and communicate exclusively through the union hierarchy.
So the TTA is insisting that their members must be deprived of their rights as citizens, to be enforced by threat of unfair labor practice complaints against elected representatives.
By the way, the level of staffing is not covered by the collective agreement, nor should it be. Under no circumstances should the school district bind its hands on staffing levels through its collective agreement with the teachers’ union.
The second complaint, against Dr. Farrah, concerns a remark she made during the Dec. 7 School Board meeting (here’s the very short clip, about 2 hours into the meeting):
“.. I do not like it when teachers talk to my daughter about my actions on the School Board, and I think that, anybody who is sitting here, don’t do it again.”
Every so often the public gets a glimpse of the price paid by public officials who fail to fully embrace the program of limitless spending and limitless authority for the school district.
Donna Green and I do not have children in the school district. We want nothing from TRSD, and we have nothing to fear from TRSD. The situation is far different for those who might be concerned about the direction of the school district, but have a family member employed there, or children in the schools.
I applaud Dr. Farrah’s courage in refusing to be cowed and in refusing to be silenced despite the fact that she has a child in the system.
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