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Jeffrey Dunkley is upset.
So too is Louise Boyd. Mary Cwiklinski is particularly disturbed.
One suspects Dunkley, Boyd, and Cwiklinski ain’t seen nothing yet.
Mr. Dunkley, you see, is a vice president of the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers. Ms. Boyd is the union president. And Cwiklinski another union vice president. The Neshaminy school district is located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania — suburban Philadelphia. A teachers strike — the second this year by the union — is now in progress. Why?
The school board says it’s a question of money. As reported in the Bucks County Courier-Times:
The board’s offer included a 15 percent contribution to health care premiums from teachers and a 1 percent across-the-board annual salary increase.
Teachers are striking for the second time this school year and have been working under the terms of their expired contract since 2008. They have received free health care during the impasse but have not received raises.
The outrage among school district residents was enough that the school board pulled this offer at the end of last week.
The union leadership has another view of why teachers are on strike. According to Philly.com:
“We’re not here by choice, but because the school board has left us no choice,” the union’s vice president, Jeff Dunkley, said outside Neshaminy High School. “They have presented nothing but exceedingly more punitive proposals, while we’ve offered six proposals that have been exceedingly more modest.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a non-binding state arbitration report found that what the union was demanding”….would cost the district $20 million for items including retroactive pay and continued bonuses for early retirement.”
In the afterglow of the Wisconsin Recall, in which angry Wisconsin voters sided with Governor Scott Walker in his tumultuous battle with public employee unions over salaries and benefit packages, there is a new page turning in this national fight. This time the fight between taxpayers and public employee unions has landed smack in the middle of the Neshaminy School District.
And the fight is about to ratchet up.
A group called the Citizens Alliance for Pennsylvania (CAP) — “a non-profit organization founded to raise the standard of living of all Pennsylvanians by restoring limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility” — is publishing this very day an extraordinary ad in the local paper (see below), the aforementioned Bucks County Courier. It seems CAP has obtained the public information that is the salary and benefits package of every single teacher in the Neshaminy School District.
Says CAP’s Chairman John Kennedy, who notes Pennsylvania leads the nation in school strikes: “This is the first time any group has ever stuck hard numbers in the face of those who pay the tab.”
What does this newly published information reveal?
That’s right. If one scans down the alphabetical list of the 633 striking teachers to Mr. Jeffrey Dunkley’s name, one will find that this one teacher alone is being paid a salary of $95,923 a year. His benefits? They would total $38,882 a year. Bringing the striking Mr. Dunkley’s package — paid for by lowly taxpayers — to a princely sum of $134,805.
Say again, $134,805.
Union president Louise Boyd? Her salary is listed at $97,623, with a benefits package of $23,720. A total for Boyd of $121,343 in taxpayer money. And Ms. Cwiklinski? Her salary chunk of taxpayer cash is $95,923 with a benefits package at $23,509 for a total of $119, 432.
The median income in Bucks County? According to the U.S. Census Bureau that would be just under $75,000. Which is to say, about $60,000 less than Mr. Dunkley’s fine compensation package as listed by the school district itself. Ms. Boyd hauls in over $46,000 more than the county median income, while Cwiklinski collects just over $44,000 more than your median Bucks Countian.
The latest package offered and now withdrawn by the school board, according to Mr. Dunkley, is “punitive.” That’s short for teachers in the Neshaminy District want more, please. And if taxpayers don’t fork it over, well, tough cookies to the kids. Remember that the board’s offer — now withdrawn — “included a 15 percent contribution to health care premiums from teachers and a 1 percent across-the-board annual salary increase.”
No go, said the teachers.
Because of this interesting demand, 7,000 students have had their classes canceled.
A look at the union’s Facebook page shows a photograph of union members holding signs that read — no kidding — “It’s not about me, it’s about our community.”
CAP has done the math, and reports that “The average salary and benefit cost per teacher is $107,002.”
So let’s wax Obamaesque here, shall we?
Are the teachers planning on doing their fair share and redistributing their taxpayer financed wealth? A wealth coming from people that includes those not earning anything remotely close to the salary and benefit package given union leaders Ms. Boyd, Mr. Dunkley and Ms. Cwiklinski in particular — not to mention all those hundreds of teachers listed in this ad?
There is doubtless more to come as this fight with public employee unions spreads across the country.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?