Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another oldie: OEA and 40 "take backs" -- from its own staff, no less!

From, December 14, 1998
The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, an Ohio think tank featured prominently in NEA's conspiracy report, issued a study that revealed details of the compensation afforded to staffers of the Ohio Education Association. The Buckeye study prompted OEA President Mike Billirakis to send a letter to local affiliate presidents to help them "answer members' questions." After claiming the study was trying to "drive a wedge between members and staff," Billirakis wrote that members "have been willing to provide the compensation necessary to attract and retain highly-skilled, highly-specialized people."
Billirakis' defense of staff perks flies in the face of his views of just a year ago. In bitter negotiations with the OEA staff union, Billirakis reportedly presented a contract offer with 40 "take backs" then walked away from the table. Billirakis offered one-time bonuses (teachers' unions routinely reject one-time bonuses to force permanent increases in the salary structure). "It was the most amazing document I have ever read — considering it was a proposal by a union to its staff," said one Ohio staffer. Another staffer said, "Management's line has been that ‘it's taking back the association from staff.'" The staffers went on a month-long strike, picketing OEA headquarters the entire time and inspiring a series of embarrassing newspaper stories. Sounds like Billirakis is the wedge that's calling the kettle black.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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