Teachers union sinks to new low by boycotting the local United Way

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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – Two weeks ago, leaders of the New Bedford teachers union organized a boycott of local media outlets that dared to question union policies.

boycottNow they’re preparing to boycott the less fortunate citizens of their community.

The teachers union’s war against the school district and community took another turn for the worse this week when the New Bedford Educators Association encouraged its members to stop making contributions to the local United Way, a consortium of charities that serves many of the neediest people in any given community.

The union, in an anonymous blog post on its website, contends it mobilized the United Way boycott because the local president of the organization, Michelle Neves Hantman, reiterated her confidence in New Bedford school Superintendent Pia Durkin earlier this month,SouthCoastToday.com reports.

On the NBEA website, the union contends Hantman “has a right to her opinion,” but NBEA members “have the right not to give money to an organization that does not support our students and education,” SouthCoastToday.com reports.

Numerous anonymous commenters, who claimed to be teachers, vowed to stop giving to the community support group.

The boycott was also posted on the union’s Facebook page.

The United Way boycott comes a few days after the union encouraged citizens to boycott several media outlets – including the local newspaper and a radio station – that had the nerve to question union policies. That boycott extends to businesses that advertise with those media outlets.

The NBEA is getting nasty because it hates the superintendent’s recently announced plan to replace 50 percent of the teaching staff at the district’s struggling high school as part of a broader turnaround plan for the school, the news site reports.

“That (staff replacement) requirement has proved by far to be the single most significant predicator of success in recent school reforms, according to state officials and the firm they hired to track reform progress since 2010,” according to SouthCoastToday.com.

The union flooded the school board meeting in which the superintendent unveiled the turnaround plan, and is encouraging members to boycott advertisers associated with the “hundred-plus names on the pro-Durkin petition,” the news site reports.

It should seem obvious to most in the community that the NBEA has little interest in the district’s students, or the families that live in New Bedford. The union’s low-brow antics only expose its unrelenting focus on money and power.

The union wants to keep the crappy high school just the way it is, staffed with dues-paying union members who are already brainwashed by the NBEA’s us-versus-them mentality against school management.

If the district hires new teachers, there’s no guarantee they’ll take on the union’s war. There’s the slight chance new teachers may actually want to help students learn, rather than fight the union’s fight.

Union leaders are not willing to take that risk.

If NBEA officials really wanted to help the district’s students, they certainly would not organize a boycott of an organization that serves the community’s most vulnerable families. A lot of kids benefit from programs sponsored by the United Way.

NBEA officials should be ashamed of themselves – if shame is indeed an emotion they are capable of feeling.

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