Letters: ‘Let us focus on concessions like other city professionals have done’

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To the Editor:

I thought I would share some thoughts to the readers of Manchester Ink Link on the recent events of our City of Manchester.

Recently a veto was given against the teachers contract. We all know that the teachers haven’t had a contract for the past two years. And we know why? We know that a 2:1 margin denounced the agreements in previous contracts as “unfair” and “unreasonable.” Negotiations continued and our representatives from the School Board unanimously voted to send the newest contract agreements to the full board of the Mayor and Alderman for approval. And we know the end result of that.

Now I, as a parent, parent volunteer, past parent advisor on Title 1 grants, co-author for the Professional Development plan and other volunteer positions, I know that teachers are professionals. We all agree to this. No one doubts this, ever.

I have also worked with the Manchester Police Department – I have completed their nine-week comprehensive Citizens Academy course in 2006. We learned how police officers go about their daily routine, the people they are involved with and the stressful yet professional manner in which they do their jobs.

The Manchester Police Department has union representation and contract negotiations as well. Their contracts were approved, with both sides making concessions and finding ways to save money to help hire and employ more police officers.

So it begs the question as to why one group of professionals continue to not agree unless it is favorable to them where as other groups and professionals have made considerable concessions for the greater good of the city as a whole?

Why is the Teachers Union so angry at our current Mayor simply because he is representing the majority of the people in this city?

The history of such talks between the Teachers Union and our past elected Mayors can be seen as “more, more, more.” Anyone can look back to see the past contracts and the disagreements mostly coming from the teachers union again, if not in their favor.

As a parent, a taxpayer, a volunteer who has given countless hours back to our City of Manchester I say stop with the pity, wants and needs. Such selfishness from a 2:1 margin is very unprofessional and must stop.

Let us focus on concessions, like other city professionals have done, how they achieved their goals and worked together to address the issues our city faces each and every day.

From the teachers whom I worked with for eight years I can say that they would truly want to see a quality education thrive in our city and would be supportive in ways of saving money so that this can be achieved.

Don’t you agree savings produced by a teachers’ contract should go first and foremost toward addressing the issues that plague our city schools and improvement of our education in the best interest of the students and the city as a whole? Then any additional savings produced or remaining can be applied to raises as agreed to in approved contracts.

Thank you,

Robert M.  Tarr

Letters to the Editor may be submitted to robidouxnews@gmail.com, subject line “Letters.”

Robert Tarr has been a resident of Manchester since 1998. He has held several volunteer positions, run for various state and local offices and worked in retail. He currently lives on the city’s West Side and is a candidate for Alderman-at-Large.

About Carol Robidoux 5555 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.
  • The time for concessions is in negotiations prior to presentation for approval. An agreement was reached the city has now chosen not to honour. That is in bad faith, and it can be exasperating for a union that negotiates with what is supposed to be a board authorised to represent the city.

    Teachers have not had a raise in three years. The job they are asked to do is overwhelming, sometimes without any support by appointed or elected officials. If you desire a quality education for Manchester children, the city must offer competitive salaries, a safe working environment, and small class sizes – a key to engaging students one on one. Are you ready to fund class sizes of less than twenty for elementary level students? My kids went to school in a suburb and were in classes with 16 students or so their first four years. Manchester kids deserve the same.

    • Robert Tarr

      Most in the private sector myself included have worked for companies, corporations where I never saw a raise in all the years of employment there. So again raises can be an option IF and when we can work to resolve issues that are important towards student education and learning. We have an audit that shows these areas of much needed improvement and we must focus to put money there first and foremost.

      • I’ve worked in the private sector, public sector, and social services sector. Perhaps in those places where you didn’t get a raise, a union would have been a wise choice to represent your interests.

        NH is facing multiple crises. First, younger people are leaving the state, and the average age of residents is creeping up, now around 43. If we cannot offer a quality education to their children, that is a problem.

        Second, in order to attract and keep educators, we must pay competitive wages and we must make working conditions tolerable.

        Third, if we are to improve the quality of education, we have to commit to providing sufficient resources and an environment conducive to learning.

        This sort of action – the rejection of a negotiated contract – is bad form. Who wants to negotiate with a party not having true authority to negotiate?

        NH has an atrocious taxation system, and it plays a role in this. Manchester’s problems go beyond education, it takes civic commitment to build liveable communities. Schools are a rally point everyone should get behind.

        Finally, this is not an unreasonable contract, which makes your initial call for further concessions a non-starter. It’s time for the city to make a concession.

  • Ross Terrio

    Starting pay for a Manchester police officer is ~ $48,500 plus the opportunity for overtime pay. Starting pay for a Manchester teacher is ~ $34,500 with no chance of overtime.

    • Robert Tarr

      And yet Mr. Terrio the Manchester Police department made concessions so they can hire more officers. Our teachers union can do the same with Health Care concessions to fill vacancies and reduce overall class sizes.

      • Ross Terrio

        I think you missed the point. They are in a much better position to make “concessions” because they earn much more plus they can get overtime pay. That being said, many people have described the police contract as generous, in that the increases in salary were more than the concessions they made. Personally, I think we need to review the contract to see whose interpretation is correct. On a final note, a lot of progress has been made on reducing class sizes, which will be reduced even more once we redistrict.

  • Heather Driscoll Watson

    I am so unimpressed by you Mr. Tarr. You will never get my vote. Our healthcare increases pretty much negate the raise we would be receiving. No extras in this household. Teachers are the foundation. Concessions need to be made some place else…