WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Macomb Teachers Take Job Action

Dec 16, 2013

Members of the Macomb Education Association used the “Work to the Rule” strategy Monday as their contract stalemate with the district drags on.

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Instead of putting in extra hours before and after school to help students – as they often do -- teachers only put in the 7.5 hours they’re contractually obligated to work.

“We came in when we were expected to be here. We all left when our contract said we could leave,” said MEA Co-President Julia Burns.

She said it’s something teachers might do from time-to-time until they have a new contract.

“We would rather do this some days to avoid going on strike,” Burns said.

Teachers have been working this school year without a contract. 

Superintendent Patrick Twomey said he was surprised teachers used the “Work to the Rule” strategy. Twomey, who is a former teacher, said many teachers put in extra time because they don’t consider teaching a job – it’s a calling.

“We all know that teachers historically go above and beyond. I recognize that and I appreciate the work that they do,” Twomey said.

He said the “Work to the Rule” directly impacts students, and he said that makes it wrong.

“And I’ll stand by that statement that I believe it’s wrong,” he said.

Both sides feel some progress was made during informal contract talks held last week. Another informal meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 18.

However, it appears as though formal talks with a federal mediator won’t be held again until January at the earliest. One mediated session has already been held, but that was six weeks ago.

Burns said the MEA wants to give bargaining one more chance before deciding whether to file an intent-to-strike notice.