Teachers union leaders botched deal


Harford County teachers should be outraged that their union president is so lacking in common sense that he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Who in his right mind would deny a Christmas bonus to his dues paying members? Anyone with the most basic knowledge of labor relations would know how to let the county executive deliver this much deserved holiday treat without jeopardizing the collective bargaining process.

The HCEA President's duplicitous dealing with the County Council is the mark of an amateur playing politics, while a group of well-meaning professionals are trying to do the right thing. This is particularly disconcerting when two of the key players for the County are former members in good standing of this very same HCEA. Trying to turn a clearly articulated one-time bonus into a multiyear obligation by switching one word, is either the strategy of an outright deceptive lobbyist, or the misadventure of a neophyte who doesn't have a clue.

Harford's teachers have gone three years without any increase in pay. They continued to do a good job in the face of financial adversity. Like all other county employees they so deserved this nice show of appreciation from the county fiscal authorities.

But, unlike their colleagues, who were represented by competent and compassionate association leaders, the teachers suffered financial loss and professional embarrassment at the hands of their president who came across as a bumbling union thug.

Dedicated professionals deserve better.

Chet H. Elder

Retired, MSTA UniServ Director and HCEA Chief Negotiator, 1970-1982

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