Wednesday, August 29, 2007

To Shirt or Not to Shirt

Okay, so I am not exactly a fashion maven (to say the very least) but I try to present myself in a reasonably tidy way. I always set my clothes out the night before an early morning, and I usually don't have too much trouble choosing outfits that are clean (always clean!) and relatively un-goofy. Last night, however, I had a major fashion dilemma. Well, that's not quite right. Fashion choices were involved, but the real issue was about labor unions. Strange combination, I know, but I am not making any of this up.

Last night, I went to a union meeting to hear how the negotiations are going on the new contract. Some of the old issues have been worked out already (yay!), but a few big things are still causing trouble. The main issue most of us care about is the proposal to convert a portion of our weekly teacher preparation time to do district business. For example, instead of collaborating with my team, correcting papers, or planning lessons, I could be required to attend meetings, trainings, or any other district-directed activity that they choose to throw at us. We are not amused.

The negotiation team still has hopes on this issue, but they also feel that the district may be willing to go to the proverbial wall on this plan. In order to show our solidarity, the union wanted us to all wear black shirts. I was SO torn about this request. I do support the cause, but I am a big fan of the secret ballot. This, to me, was a request that we vote early and wear our opinions on our chests. One of the things that allowed us to avoid divisions during the last strike was by keeping our votes to ourselves. I went back and forth trying to decide what I should do because there just wasn't an easy answer.

In the end, the black won out. I had a colorful shirt with me, but I wore the black all day. It turned out that almost all my co-workers did the same. Hopefully none of the non-shirts (ha! ha!) will hold it against the rest of us. Even more hopefully, we will get a contract, and we can stop displaying our opinions via our clothes.

1 comment:

::wendy:: said...

in the UK black-shirt is a euphamism for fascist.

goodluck with your lobbying. Public lobbying (shirt colour & badge wearing) seems ok as long as the actual votes are secret te ensure feedom from intimidation by lobbiests.