Victor Skinner

HARFORD, Md. – Teachers in Harford, Maryland are planning to make their students pay the price for their anger with the school board by refusing to work beyond the letter of their union contract this fall.

This type of slowdown – known as “work to rule’ – is a popular negotiating tactic with teachers unions across the nation. Union members refuse to perform any duties that are not specifically spelled out in their collective bargaining agreement, and use growing public frustration over their lack of effort as leverage for more money.

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Teachers at one elementary school in Harford even had the audacity to send a letter to parents, to make sure they know what teachers will and won’t be willing to do when school starts in August, the Dagger Press reports.

They do not intend to:

-Organize or volunteer for afterschool events (i.e. – Generations Dance, Spring Fling, Reading and Math Night, S.T.E.M. Night, etc.).

-Organize or assist with clubs/organization (Engineering club, Lego club, etc.).

-Participate in extended day field trips.

-Return phone calls/e-mails outside of the duty day which is 8:30 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.

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We hope that you understand our difficult decision to limit our participation in extracurricular activities due to the budgetary constraints brought on to us by the County Council and Board of Education.”

In case parents don’t understand the teachers’ reasoning, let us put it in perspective.

Union bosses in Harford want retribution because city and county officials have denied their demand for an across-the-board 1 percent raise, as well as automatic “step” raises most teachers get every year.

Of the district’s 2,900 teachers, 650 have voted to participate in the union’s work-to-rule stunt, though union president Ryan Burbey told the Dagger, “I believe the vast majority of teachers, union and non-union, are going to be working to rule” when school starts this year.

Teachers unions are notorious for using peer pressure to motivate their members to action, so we wouldn’t be surprised if Burbey’s prediction is correct.

Regardless, the union’s “won’t do” list makes it clear that the stunt will impact students the most.

Union officials want teachers to cut off contact with parents and students promptly at 3:50 p.m. and meet in the school lobby and walk out in defiance each day. The union also wants its members to resign from their after school responsibilities, which will undoubtedly cancel many student clubs and activities.

In similar protests we’ve covered, teachers have refused to write college reference letters for students, conduct after school tutoring, and do much else outside of the regular classroom schedule.

We hope local residents, parents and students see through the union’s tactics and realize those participating in the protest are holding the education process hostage for their personal gain.

This situation is not the fault of the school board. The greedy union deserves all the blame.