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Travis Rowley: Fire Radical Teachers

Saturday, September 01, 2012


Denying local taxpayers of what they have paid them to do – educate their children – dozens of North Kingstown teachers took to the picket line this week in solidarity with school janitors, who recently received an “average salary cut of $13,000” after the local school committee decided to privatize the town’s custodial services.

As it’s illegal for public servants to strike, every teacher that joined the resistance this week should have been fired on the spot.

And not a second thought should have been given to the quality of education that would result in such a decision. After 75 Central Falls teachers were fired in 2010, “roughly 800 applications” came pouring in – entirely discrediting the unions’ longstanding insistence that wages must remain at their current levels in order to retain good teachers.

Organized government employees can continue their distortion of reality all they want, but they are hardly the victims they portend to be. Rather, they are a corrupt, overpaid, brainwashed, and overly protected class of public servants.

Another economic truism that labor religionists resist is the fact that, if the North Kingstown school committee was to truly offer insufficient benefits and wages to their custodians, then nobody would volunteer for the jobs.

he value of any worker is the wage that he agrees to. This societal arrangement is what is known as the free market system, practiced by the 85 percent of the nation’s workforce that doesn’t suffer from organized labor’s third-party interference. It is a system that values competition and individualism, drives down the cost of living, and lifts the standard of living – for everyone.

In the wake of North Kingstown’s successful privatization of this particular workforce, perhaps the more appropriate question is this: Why were North Kingstown’s janitors being so overpaid for all these years?

“All You Have To Do Is Raise Taxes”

Socialists will have nothing to do with economic liberty, free markets, or “privatization.” That’s where unions come in.

Teachers and janitors this week were being organized by two corrupt rackets – the National Education Association (NEA-RI) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Speaking before a crowd, one female union leader suspected that the entire ordeal is “more about union busting, [that’s] what it’s really about.”

Or maybe the NK school committee is just trying to balance its books, and lower costs for the taxpayers.

Perhaps it’s understandable, however, that labor leaders would simply assume anti-union motivations. After all, I’ve yet to meet a union boss that believes there is even such a thing as “budget problems.” In order to support broken town budgets and unfunded pension systems, public-union progressives have continuously supported every tax-the-rich measure proposed by General Assembly Democrats. And several years ago, former East Providence school committee chairman Anthony Carcieri reported that – after the town’s dire economic conditions were divulged to leading figures within the teachers union – Jeanette Woolley of the NEA-RI “stuck a finger in [Carcieri’s] face” and said, “Don’t you dare tell us that you can’t afford to pay us. All you have to do is raise taxes.”

Keeping in mind the unions’ reflex to solve every problem with another assault on the taxpayers, perhaps it’s time for school committees throughout the state to validate labor leaders’ concerns. In other words, they should engage in “union busting” – otherwise known as “giving taxpayers control over their government.”

Government unions are not only inconsistent with the purposes of organized labor, they’re also instruments of tyranny and public debt. In a free society, public employees (the government) should never have undue power over the taxpayers and their local budgets.

Radical Associations

Before firing all the teachers, however, perhaps it would be fair to make them aware of the types of people standing beside them at the picket line.

This writer has previously laid out the radical ideology and ethics that guides the NEA, perhaps best exemplified by the fact that Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals – a book that praises Lucifer on its early pages – is on this particular union’s recommended reading list. Rules for Radicals is, essentially, a guidebook for community organizers that instructs them to deceive people in order to advance political agendas.

Even more intriguing is “Justice for Janitors,” an outfit of the SEIU. Intertwined with radical community organizing groups such as ACORN, the SEIU’s president emeritus is Andy Stern, who once said, “There are opportunities in America to share better in the wealth, to rebalance the power. And unions and government are part of the solution.” “Workers of the world unite, it’s not just a slogan anymore,” Stern has explained. “It’s a way we’re going to have to do our work.” Stern is also known as an unapologetic champion of organized labor’s culture of thuggery, making remarks such as, “We took names! We watched how they voted! We know where they live!” He has boasted, “We’re trying to use the power of persuasion. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to use the persuasion of power.”

Just as radical as Stern is former SEIU boss Steve Lerner, the architect of the Justice for Janitors campaign. Last year, Justice for Janitors turned up in New York City, openly invoking the instruction laid out by Marxist Ivy League professors Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward in the 1960s – that is, to purposely orchestrate a “profound financial and political crisis” in order to affect change. Activists involved with Justice for Janitors were calling for conditions of “un-governability.” According to them, that’s what makes “poor people’s movements…successful…And then you win victories.”

In New York City, Lerner spoke to a crowd of community organizers about their scheme to “disrupt and create uncertainty” and “bring down the stock market” and “disrupt how the system operates” and “start to destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement” by calling on “community groups” to “organ[ize] homeowners en masse to do a mortgage strike” “in cities around the country” in order to “redistribute wealth and power” and “put banks at the edge of insolvency again” and “literally cause a new financial crisis.”

That’s Justice for Janitors. That’s the SEIU. These are the people hanging around outside North Kingstown High School – radical anti-capitalists standing arm-in-arm with run-of-the mill union bosses and dozens of duped labor loyalists.

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is chairman of the RI Young Republicans and author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left.


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Hey Beaver,
Does the third paragraph include your Dad and his State Police buddies? Doesn't Dad enjoy cashing that pension check? How much did he pay into that pension? It's not 100% taxpayer funded is it?

Comment #1 by tom brady on 2012 09 01

Well reasoned, Mr. Rowley. Thank you.

Comment #2 by William Suffik on 2012 09 01

hey Tom, if your dad was in prison for drug dealing, would you expect people to paint you with the same brush if you-were say a cop or a drug counselor or a doctor? why is it Travis' opinions about public sector unions are tied forever, in your opinion, to what his dad did for a living? some intelligent people start to think for themselves at a certain age. Maybe you're having trouble debating the real message and all you can come up with is "Your Daddy belonged to a union, so you have no right to an opinion." Give the readers on this site something they can chew on. Otherwise you are just a big waste of time.

Comment #3 by deborah rowley on 2012 09 01

I was also confused as to what his father had to do with this article.

Comment #4 by William Suffik on 2012 09 01

Holding hands with socialist radicals. Awesome. Great job, teachers.

Comment #5 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2012 09 01

Government Employees....DO YOUR JOB!

Tom Brady...you're an idiot.

Comment #6 by Bryan Sullivan on 2012 09 01

Most people in this country believe that a contract is sacrosanct--"a deal is a deal." But Central Falls' bankruptcy provided the exception that shows there is nothing that can be relied on when the integrity of a system breaks down. Unsustainable means unsustainable. It is not only impossible to maintain a pension plan if it isn't funded according to actuarial standards, it is morally wrong to commit future generations to give money to meet an obligation made by this generation. Why is this so hard for people to understand?
East Providence has been on the verge of bankruptcy. Providence could be headed in that direction. There is nothing sacrosanct about an illegal or immoral commitment made for political purposes that is not financially sound. Rowley is right; it's a racket.

Comment #7 by Kenneth Amylon on 2012 09 01

Never said Rowley is wrong, just waiting for his piece on the State Police Pension and the fact that it was protected by politically connected.

Comment #8 by tom brady on 2012 09 01

I agree with you Travis. Another excellent essay on a very important subject. Public employees at the local, state and federel levels of government have no right to strike. It is unlawful to do so and shoudl be and removal for doing so is not unfair nor unreasonable.

Comment #9 by peter hewett on 2012 09 01

After 75 Central Falls teachers were fired in 2010, “roughly 800 applications” came pouring in – entirely discrediting the unions’ longstanding insistence that wages must remain at their current levels in order to retain good teachers.

I like this quote. You are truly ignorant to the fact that those 800 were not even qualified in this state to teach. One would be candidate asked if he could have a phone interview because the tracking bracelet on his ankle would not permit coming to the school. The trouble with your line of thinking is that people should not have a voice in what goes on. Many thanks to Fran Gallo for blowing up the community spirit that was once Central Falls High School. Any time you want to teach there Rowley, just submit your application.

Comment #10 by Joseph Fazio on 2012 09 01

Yea, I'm sure all 800 applicants were ineligible to teach here, and had criminal records. Suuuuuuure. Even if that were true, maybe it's time to ask yourself WHY they're not "qualified" to teach in RI. Rowley's right, union workers are "overly-protected." They form worker monopolies and lock other workers (often better workers) out.

And save us the "community spirit" junk.

Comment #11 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2012 09 01

It is time for the town officials, through the taxpayers who put them there to stand up these people. The unions know the cities and towns have busted budgets and are cutting back. The only thing the unions know is "raise taxes" and pay us. Those days are gone. These little "road show" stunts should be answered with one simple statement, "Either go to work, or your fired." We are enforcing the contract. It's time to take the gloves off with these people.

Comment #12 by Lance Chappell on 2012 09 01

For your information, the 22 year old young teacher from Ohio who was caught boozing and having sex with her students when she taught at Central Falls was typical of thos applicants you refer to.
She was not trained from a traditional university. She and others like her in those New teacher Project or Teach for America get 6 weeks training in the summer....
So make sure you do your research before you insert foot in mouth.

As for Rowley, if he represents the young Republicans, then the leadership of that party better smarten up because he will never gain new membership with such uninformed arrogant morons like Mr. Rowley.
The teachers did not go on strike. They did not cross the picket line of the custodians. Rowley needs to do his homework before he accuses a group of people of something they didn't do. But then Travis likes to have his statements startling and absurd so he gets recognition! If I were a Republican and thank God I am not, I would be embarrassed by him. He is a "Carcieri wannabe"..an arrogant, name-calling baseless politician! He is definitely more than one standard deviation from the norm!

Comment #13 by dis gusted on 2012 09 02

longo encaracolado castanho perucas - $199.99 :

Comment #14 by elaresperssamel John on 2012 09 02

There are plenty of examples of public school teachers who have graduated from "traditional universities" who have been caught sexually abusing their students. Oops. Nice try, "dis gusted"

And your dishonesty concerning whether the teachers TECHNICALLY went on strike or not is TYPICAL. More lawyer-esque trickery from the unions. Bottom Line---The teachers publicly decided NOT to cross the picket-line last week. School was canceled. They disrupted the system. The system the taxpayers PAY for.

Comment #16 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2012 09 02

All students get the same amount of education. A one day shift. Think everyone will survive Jeremy?

Comment #17 by tom brady on 2012 09 02

Just a one day shift. As if that's the point.

Comment #18 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2012 09 02

Just going off your bottom line

Comment #19 by tom brady on 2012 09 02

which was the "bottom line" dealing with the side issue that "dis gusted" had raised....his disingenuous claim that the teachers didn't go on strike. Try to follow along, "tom"

Comment #20 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2012 09 02

Mrs. (Deborah) Rowley,
In reference to your statement aimed at Tom Brady, “your daddy belongs to a union so you have no right to an opinion” (Travis’s dad). You are right, however, until Travis is willing to openly denounce the RI State Fraternal Order of Police in the same manner and fervor he denounces all public unions he will remain a hypocrite and charlatan. Moreover, if the state were to terminate every RI trooper and offer their jobs for “$13,000” less compensation, I am confident there would be hundreds of highly qualified applicants. So, Travis, using your own logic, troopers are overpaid state workers!
Conversely, I believe that our State Troopers are worth every penny they earn and remain a noble organization.

Comment #21 by Stan Lee on 2012 09 02

Great point Stan Lee! With approx. 228 Troopers, Rhode Island can save about $3 million dollars per year if we cut their pay by Only $13,000. Probably double that if they also get rid of those Teddy Roosevelt Uniforms.

Comment #22 by tom brady on 2012 09 02

Conversely, I also believe are Troopers are noble. However many other "noble' people have been cut.

Comment #23 by tom brady on 2012 09 02

In taking this trooper/police thing one step further, look at the number of police departments that the state has; dem police, airport police, capital police, campus police, and the lists go on. All of these departments could be outsourced and save the state a ton of money. Maybe not all of these departments are in the state pension system but the union lackeys at the state house are trying. This state needs to cut this wasteful spending.

Comment #24 by Lance Chappell on 2012 09 02

1000% agree. Too bad we have a govt. that is so weak that it allows itself to cut one group but ignore another. Whether it politics as usual, or vocal minority, or advertised social services, No one want s to cooperate because judges pensions are ignored while retirees are slashed. Idiots like Chafee look like they are barely treading water.

Comment #25 by tom brady on 2012 09 02

The greedy janitors are just trying to preserve their cushy jobs, they are getting RICH at our expense

Comment #26 by Roger Lachance on 2012 09 02

Wow. You guys don't listen (even to yourselves). Stan Lee, you just wrote that travis denounces "all public unions." So, yes, he denounces the FOP too. It's clearly implied. Why would you assume otherwise? There are HUNDREDS/THOUSANDS of public unions. Does travis have to write a column on each and every one of them in order for you to stop saying he's a "hypocrite" and a "charlatan"...???

It just happens that the NEA, SEIU, AFL-CIO are the most vocal and most radical. It's no wonder they're often the focus of commentary. It's only a wonder to you guys.

We're dealing with total dopes down here.

Comment #27 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2012 09 02

Was just going to say the same thing, Jeremy! Rowley has consistently said that government employees should NOT be able to unionize. I'm pretty sure that would include COPS! hhaahaha...These guys are hysterically lame.

Stan Lee and Tom Brady (Bob Walsh and George Nee)---- Nice effort, though.

Comment #28 by Bryan Sullivan on 2012 09 02

Óculos de sol Rayban 111 [sunglasses-5239] - $48.99 : TITLE, SITE_TAGLINE

Comment #30 by elaresperssamel John on 2012 09 02

I don’t know what your definition of rich is? However, at an average pay of let’s say thirty thousand or so (for the most senior workers. I don’t think that they are getting rich by any measure. Their wages are being slashed to little more than minimum wage. I don’t feel that the tax payer will benefit if many of these formerly self sufficient families now qualify for public assistance. Do You?

In regards to public sector unions, there are only a handful that impact the state and local budgets. You don’t feel that the State F.O.P. is a significant and obvious choice? Perhaps Travis has forgotten them - lost among the thousands…

Bryan Sullivan, Travis is very specific in his criticisms. But you will give him a buy in regards to omitting his father’s former profession. For me, vague implications are quite "lame!"

Lastly, not even close...I am a MODERATE.

Comment #31 by Stan Lee on 2012 09 03

Fire Radical Teachers?

From the NK Patch: "The union – 150 of the district's support staff including paraprofessionals, maintenance and cafeteria workers – went on strike Tuesday, forcing the cancellation of the first day of school.

The union went on strike after contract negotiations Monday went until nearly 11 p.m. with no resolution. All classes along with before and after school programs were cancelled for the day at around 6:30 a.m."

IF school were CANCELLED, why should teachers be FIRED for exercising their FIRST AMENDMENT rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly?!?

AGAIN, IF this were the case, Mr. Rowley would be advocating tyranny while accusing others of being radicals?!

Comment #32 by John Buckner on 2012 09 03

John, you're pulling the same trick as "dis gusted." Yes, technically there was no strike. The teachers announced that they were going to strike. The administration chose to cancel school THAT MORNING in order to avoid that sort of conflict. What Rowley is saying is that the administration shouldn't have backed down, and instead should have fired them all (Reagan-like).

"Stan Lee" --- You're not a moderate. You're a liberal. You're clearly not a free-marketer, so I'll leave your commentary about wage levels alone. I get it, though. You care.

You're wrong to say that there are only a "handful" of unions. There are hundreds of locals. And not every union is the same in terms of posturing(AFL, CIO, SEIU, NEA tend to me the most vocal). Therefore, not every union will receive the same amount of media attention, and become the focus of articles such as these. Again, you have no grounds for a charge of hypocrisy. You're grasping at irrelevant straws.

Comment #33 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2012 09 03

um, i notice nobody has anything to say about the "radicals" travis talks about who are involved with the SEIU. Steve Lerner? Andy Stern? What is with these people?

Comment #34 by Bryan Sullivan on 2012 09 03

*Yawn* Couldn't even get through this one.

Comment #35 by Russ C on 2012 09 04

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