Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The NFT Roadshow: All sizzle, no steak

With her PR advisor in tow, Louise Boyd started a media blitz by giving interviews with the Courier Times and Fox 29 News in separate meetings yesterday. Although the NFT Prez has now started to talk, there is really nothing new to report. If you read today's Courier Times article or watched last night's Fox 29 News report (see below), it's abundantly clear that Ms. Boyd still has no intention of ever agreeing to employee health care contributions. (photo credit: Steve Gengler, Courier Times photographer)

As a further display that she really has no sense of what is going on around her, Ms. Boyd referred to the throngs of frustrated parents and tax payers as a vocal minority. And she says that people are concerned about the health and safety of the NFT Negotiation Team because of the venom of this "very small, but angry group." Furthermore, Boyd insists that the community has largely been supportive of the NFT position.

The "highlight" of yesterday for me came during a meeting with the Courier Times when Ritchie Webb, Chuck Sweet and I were given an opportunity to address Ms. Boyd's statements from earlier in the day (photo credit: Steve Gengler, Courier Times photographer). We were told that once again the NFT President accused the Board of distorting numbers, withholding information, and misleading the public. Of course she wouldn't/couldn't provide any specifics, but why should she let something as inconvenient as facts get in the way of her baseless charges?

There is one take-away from everything that happened yesterday - Clearly the NFT, probably on advice from their PR advisor, has shifted their talking points away from the dollars and cents of the contract and is now highlighting educational goals instead. Undoubtedly this an attempt to look like the kinder, gentler NFT. You know, the kind of people who wouldn't put their contract ahead of our kids and wouldn't be mired down in something as unproductive as a work-to-contract action. And since you can't expect the public to believe something unless you're willing to believe it yourself, the NFT has started feeding this altruistic message to the rank and file, as is evident from this professional quality brochure (courtesy of the PR guy, I'm sure) making its way around the district offices . . .

NFT Brochure 11162010

To be clear, I have no doubt whatsoever that the majority of our teachers are greatly concerned about the quality of our children's education. But when NFT leadership waves that banner around like it's all that matters, it's nothing more than a clever strategy crafted by a highly-skilled, and I'd guess highly-compensated, public relations professional.

In the meantime, all eyes are focused on the December 2nd negotiation session where self-insured Rx is the focus. Let's see which NFT shows up for that meeting.


Levittowner said...

WTH? (I try not to curse..lol!)
That brochure has nothing to do with anything going on with the contract impass.
Team approach?! Yup..why doesn't the union take their own advice and join "Team Neshaminy" along with the parents, kids, and board. Does she not remember (or think we don't know?!)that the union took all the "for the kids" stuff out of their last counteroffer but refused to even talk about employee contributions?

Do the teachers realize how ridiculous their leadership looks? (even with the help of a P.R. firm?) Wow..even a P.R. firm can't spin this baby...the community is really not this stupid..I can't believe the union leadership hopes/believes the teachers are by passing this around.

I keep coming online because this whole thing is starting to seem like the twilight zone..the union can't be serious?!

William O'Connor said...

The following comment submitted by Kevin was edited for content.

I am honestly getting more and more frustrated with the Board! Why won't the Board discuss anything other than the Healthcare issue first, just so we can get moving on this thing? It really does seem as if the Board has had a take it or leave it approach to the negotiations. Until the NFT accepts the healthcare we are offering, nothing else is discussed? That is NOT negotiating.......

acs said...

William, What Kevin's comment indicates is that the board has to get even more aggressive to educate what appears to still be a very uninformed public with people still ignorant of the outrageous demands this union is making and how 10 years of extremely out of whack union labor cost has driven $22M in deficits. These are the most highly compensated teachers in PA and NSD is literally out of money.
For Kevin get educated then come back and tell us who is right and who is wrong. If you aren't just a union/teacher shill blinded by the unionspeak I think you will agree the board is doing just fine here.
They could talk about these things first if you want...Boyd's outrageous demands for 35% in raises with steps for 5 years including $11M in retro pay, Rolls Royce free health care in retirement for the whole teachers' family to age 65, a $28K retiree bonus, longevity bonus, least amount of teacher work time in Bucks, fewest number of steps in Bucks, teh fact that teacher with only a Masters Equiv can get to step 11, a COLA on top of raises and steps, teachers can qualify for free retiree FAMILY health insurance with only 10 years of NSD services and on and on...
Kevin pick one of those to start with other then the most expensive teacher health care plan that cost 2X most other teachers' plans in Bucks at $28k per teacher family.
Oh and we could also start with al the details on WTC the board needs to now specify in our CBA so to paraphrase Mr. Webb's line teachers can't screw our kids education again.