Tense meetings, threats, strike date nigh: Another day in Kenai teacher union drama - Must Read Alaska
Connect with:
Monday, October 14, 2019
HomePoliticsTense meetings, threats, strike date nigh: Another day in Kenai teacher union drama

Tense meetings, threats, strike date nigh: Another day in Kenai teacher union drama

Public school teachers on the Kenai Peninsula have been working without a contract for more than 400 days.

But it is going to be a few days more, it appears, although a strike that was authorized in May is looming on Sept. 16. That action could shut down the schools.

Monday’s meeting, held in Homer, was supposed to be when the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education was going to come to an agreement with the unions.

Instead, the meeting was so tense, with such vitriol coming from a small-but-radicalized segment of Homer toward the School Board, that board members were clearly rattled, and emphasized in their closing statements the need for civility.

Most people in Homer do not agree with the group that showed up and told them “you should be ashamed of yourself.”

But it’s the same Recall Dunleavy people who attend various meetings and raise a ruckus in Homer on a regular basis.

“I didn’t laugh at your comments,” said board member Debra Hall after members of the audience started jeering her comments.

Meanwhile, the school district and union negotiations were cancelled on Wednesday until further notice because of alleged phoned-in threats against the National Education Association office in Anchorage.

 “This afternoon three calls were made threatening the National Education Association’s office in Anchorage. The phone number was a Kenai Peninsula phone number. The evening’s bargaining session scheduled at Soldotna High School for September 11th was canceled out of concern for safety and protocol. This is still an ongoing investigation so we cannot discuss details,” the district posted on its Facebook page.

The phone number was traced back to Seward; Anchorage police and Alaska State Troopers are said to be investigating.

The teachers union activists are the same “Red for Ed” contingency that protested the full Permanent Fund dividend during state budget talks, and are now asking for $3,000 for each of their members for their healthcare coverage.

[Read: Teachers turn out to oppose full PFD]

The the proposed contract would cost the district $3.2 million, which would deplete the general fund balance, yet still require more funds to be obtained from an unknown source.

Kenai educators may not yet realize that they do not have to be part of the unions. All they need to do is to send a letter to Human Resources, telling them to stop taking out dues from the employee’s paychecks. This right was established in the Supreme Court Janus decision.

[Read: A conversation with Mark Janus.]

Donations Welcome

Share

Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • If this is the caliber of public education babysitters they have in Kenai perhaps a good strike could give parents an opportunity to recruit all new ones.

    • With you on that Donn ! Let them all quit good riddance union scammers!

  • The Public School System is just another form of Socialism created by Horance Mann, a very close friend of Karl Marx, the creator of Communism. The Public School doors should be closed and locked and the building sold for some other enterprise that is compatible with a Constitutional Republic and the money from the sale returned to the people who paid the taxes to build these buildings. Then the people could use that money to buy the educational material to educate their own children, because the people would then have enough money from not paying Direct Taxes for building this Public Dis-Education System, for the Mother to stay home to educate their own children. Should the Public be taxed to provide the food and clothing for all the children too????? Direct Taxes in general is just another way to make Slaves to We The People. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

    • Damn son, you’re going to educate us back into the dark ages. No need to go that far.

  • If these filthy Marxist that have somehow infested all of our once great American institutions were to ever get the civil war they so desperately want, I think they will find themselves very disappointed with the outcome. Meanwhile, let’s fire each and everyone of them and send them back to Portland, before they have any more time to poison our children’s minds.

    • Fat, just because they want more money and benefits doesn’t make them bad people. Now if they adopt the extreme radical views like AOC and other new comers, we got a problem.

    • Seymore great to see you found the best site in our state to comment… Thank you MRA

  • Great post.

  • All public sector unions should be abolished.

    • Agreed

  • The strike has been announced for Tues. 7:00 a.m.

  • This article reveals a clear bias. Cherry picking moments from the recent board meeting in Homer and not providing clear context. Claiming the meeting was filled with “the same Recall Dunleavy people”, when the meeting was filled with teachers and parents, many of whom voted for Dunleavy and showed up to implore the school board to do their part to support educators. The author neglected to mention that employees saved the districts health plan $2 million last year when many elected to switch to high deductible health care plans. Another article published today stated that the current KPBSD offer would have its employees paying DOUBLE what other comparable district employees pay in monthly premiums. Have you watched the bargaining meetings that are posted online? Have you explored the district’s line item budget for FY2019? You should further educate yourselves on the matter. Especially before spouting inflammatory and absolutist opinions. It’s statements like that insight the threats of violence mentioned in the article and actual violence carried out by left and right extremists around the country.

    To those in the comments who believe this to be evil union action, know that this push was employee driven. Last spring 75% voted to strike. Now that percentage would likely be even higher. The union big wigs actually fought against a strike. Educators in this district, liberal and conservative alike, are hurting. They are the worst paid while facilitating some of the best results in the state.

    For those of you crying Marxism and Socialism, you need to realize your vision of little to no taxes in exchange for privatization would not lead to the utopia you envision, but to wide sectors of the population being under-educated. Studies show this results in more crime, poverty, and illiteracy. If one of the keys to a successful representative democracy is an informed and well-educated electorate, is eliminating public education going to help that? I’m not sure what teacher or school hurt you so badly that you’re so disgusted. Please consider volunteering at or visiting one of your local public schools. I believe you will find hard working, caring, supportive, and innovative educators and students who love, cherish, and grow from the learning opportunities provided. Unless you’ve had direct, recent, and relevant experiences in education and public schools, I feel like your disproportionate, reactionary, and political biased opinions are unfounded.

%d bloggers like this: