Breakfast: The New Collective Bargaining?

“Collective bargaining.  noun.  The process by which wages, hours, rules, and working conditions are negotiated and agreed upon by a union with an employer for all the employees collectively whom it represents.”

Up until now, Eduflack thought he understood the meaning of the term collective bargaining.  The grandson of a Teamster and the son of an NEA teacher who walked the picket lines to increase those wages and work conditions for her fellow teachers, collective bargaining is a concept I believe is essential to having a strong and protected workforce and middle class.
But it was a real head scratcher when Eduflack was reading the latest out of Los Angeles.  Seems LAUSD enacted a new school breakfast program that is serving 84 percent of LAUSD’s students.  The same students that many defenders of the failed status quo say can’t learn because the come to school without breakfast.
At any rate, the local union is taking issue with the breakfast program.  They weren’t consulted in its implementation.  They find the food and trash a distraction.  So they are now demanding that the new breakfast program be part of the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the district.
Over at the ConnCAN blog, I share LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy’s view that the union’s stance here is just “incomprehensible.”
From that blog post:

Incomprehensible is putting it kindly. For years now, ConnCAN has fought to ensure that the needs of students were included in any arbitration decisions involving teacher contracts. Yet it is still illegal for Connecticut to consider the interests of the child in any such decisions. After all, those status quo defenders contend, collective bargaining agreements are all about protecting the rights and interests of the adults in the system.

Fair enough. But then how can one possibly insist that contracts governing the pay and benefits for teachers should act as a forum for unions to negotiate whether or not a community can provide breakfast to its poorest children?

It is just another example of public education being all about the adults in the room, with no real concern for the children we are supposed to be serving. Such logic is indeed incomprehensible … and unconscionable.

Happy reading, and enjoy your breakfast.  A little ed reform and eggs this AM.

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