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Tea Party Speaker Wants to Outlaw Teacher Strikes

Simon Campbell, a school board member in Bucks County, tells a Lehigh Valley Tea Party audience that teachers shouldn't get guaranteed pensions.

Simon Campbell, a member of the Pennsbury School Board in Bucks County, told about 100 attendees of the monthly Lehigh Valley Tea Party meeting that they should hold officials’ “feet to the fire” over teachers union contracts.

Campbell said teacher salaries and benefits need to be comparable to those in the private sector.

“Nobody has these guaranteed pensions in the private sector,” he said. “I have a big problem with all these benefits and packages these people get.”

Speaking at , Jan. 6, Campbell, originally from England, said he never thought he'd be involved with politics, but found himself drawn in shortly after settling in Bucks County with his wife, a New York native.

In 2005, there was a teachers strike, despite Bucks County teachers on average being the highest paid in the state, he said.

So he did research and found that 37 states don't allow teachers to strike.

Of the 13 that do, he said, Pennsylvania has the most strikes. “I'd like to see Pennsylvania be number one for some things, but teacher strikes isn't one of them.”

Later, he put together a website, www.stopteacherstrikes.org.

And after becoming a U.S. citizen in 2009, he decided to run for the local school board, an office he won.

Once elected, he said he was even more dismayed.

“I had no idea there were non-union teachers,” he said, noting they are required to pay “fair use” fees, which Campbell says is outrageous.

“They're forced to pay union dues to keep their jobs,” he said, disputing the idea that even though they are not members, they still benefit from union efforts, such as collective bargaining.

The union requires teachers to pay dues or fees, which is “compulsory representation,” Campbell said.

“They're not free riders – they're captive passengers,” he said. “I have a massive problem with a private organization that can tax paychecks.”

The Pennsbury School Board on which Campbell serves eliminated compulsory union dues, he said.

“I think it's incumbent on local officials to look at these contracts ... It's not okay that officials sign off these contracts [automatically],” he said. “I would encourage you to hold [officials'] feet to the fire on this ... Any time you have union contracts coming up, you should be all over it. [School districts] do have the right to say ‘no.’

“The union should be told point blank, 'go collect your own money,'” he said. “If they can't use the government to collect the money, they won't get it.”

The power of teachers unions to influence politics comes from their ability to collect the dues through paychecks, Campbell said.

careless fills January 31, 2012 at 10:52 PM
@For Life. I know. But our data are not inconsistent with each other. We are both cherry picking. I suspect the contract has cells in the matrix with zero population because the lowest ACTUAL salary at EPSD for some one with 16 years was $72,805 for full time in 2009-2010.
Rosemary B February 01, 2012 at 02:07 PM
We need MORE SCHOOL CHOICE! People who send their kids to charter and private schools are taxpayers too and deserve to have their educational choices supported. Not all public schools are a good choice for every kid.
Bill Hubbard III July 04, 2012 at 08:06 AM
Whether teachers are over or underpaid and pensioned (although in the BASD pensions are slowly being phased out in lieu of 401k's) is a matter for debate, as witnessed by all these comments. But one thing I believe it is fair to generalize; school teachers are very under appreciated. Once again, read many of these self-righteous comments. If a few of you knew what many teachers in the middle and high school levels put up with on a daily basis, you might rethink your positions: disruptive students with no respect; an administration that won't support you when you do confront a disruptive student; a school board that literally gambled away millions of OUR money in bad swaps deals forcing the district to make big cuts. This resulted in some teachers being uprooted from programs they'd spent years building up, just to "cut costs". This is just some of what a teacher deals with every day. I'd say they are more under appreciated than over paid!
Michael Mills April 30, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Simon Campbell has ruined the Pennsbury School District in only a few years. This man wants the most experienced educators out of the district to be replaced with 23 year old's that do not have any experience in the classroom. It takes five years to master one's teaching style. Campbell is a cancerous leech to ANY school district. This man is egocentric and his values do not reflect the values of the parents of the children that he tries to control.
Rita Chesterton June 12, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Just throwing this out there for everyone to feed upon: http://www.ips-dc.org/reports/pension-deficit-disorder

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