Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

What Kind of Professional “Works to Rule”?

The Naples (Florida) Daily News reports that the Collier County Education Association is having its teacher members “work to rule” in protest of the school district’s latest compensation offer. Under “work to rule,” as the Daily News writes, teachers “will come in at the contract-approved time and leave at the contract-approved time. Teachers won’t be doing anything above and beyond the 7.5-hour day. That means no extra help after school and no sponsoring of clubs.”

The Daily News profiled one family that has been especially hard-hit by “work to rule”:

Sheri Mausen began to see the impact work to rule was having on her two teenage daughters last week. With a freshman and a senior at Gulf Coast High School, Mausen said she and her fiance, Bob Dorta, were surprised when her youngest daughter came home with a stack of ungraded English homework.

The daughter said the teacher “handed back the papers, and said she didn’t have time to grade them,” Mausen said.

That wasn’t the only problem the family has encountered since work to rule went into effect.

In a letter to the Collier County School Board, Mausen explained that one teacher is reducing the number of written assignments and has canceled tutoring.

“My younger daughter’s Spanish teacher has told her class that she doesn’t care to generate too much written work that requires grading, because she ‘has a life,’ and isn’t going to grade papers in the evening,” Mausen wrote. “(The same teacher) used to tutor her students during lunch — from which my daughter benefited — and today she announced there will be no more tutoring.”

Dorta said he’s outraged with the way the teachers are acting.

“It’s really discouraging to hear them crying,” he said. “My little one is having trouble in Spanish class, and (I learn) she’s watching Twister in Spanish. It just blows my mind.”

Teachers union executive director Jonathan Tuttle justified the action thusly: “The teachers are doing their job and that is all they are doing. For years and years, teachers have gone above and beyond what they are required to do.”

But teachers “working to rule” aren’t doing their jobs. If teachers are professionals (as teachers unions never tire of repeating), then going “above and beyond what they are required to do” is expected. Part of what it means to be a professional is that your work consists of more than mere requirements. Meet only the requirements, and you’re not doing your job.

And as the Daily News reveals, some teachers aren’t even meeting their requirements — yearbook advisers who get extra money for working after school are leaving when the bell rings.

Categories: Teachers Unions