Funny how so many members of the Manchester teachers union got religion last week. Perhaps it was a miracle, but it is more likely an interest in starting spring vacation early, no doubt encouraged by a union that isn’t getting what it wants at the bargaining table.
The MEA seems to be working to the letter of its contract, which means not performing any duties not specifically required of teachers. The contract also provides for personal days off for religious matters. Last week marked Good Friday and the start of Passover. It also was the last school day before spring vacation.
Suddenly, the school district was hit with an inordinately large number of requests by teachers for Friday off. The district denied some of these. It said it wouldn’t be able to properly staff all schools if so many teachers were gone for the day.
It also said personal time need not be granted if the request is meant to extend a vacation. The union cried foul, saying religious requests are exempt from that clause and, anyway, HOW DARE anyone question the religiosity of its members.
Well, we dare. The district offered to give each affected teacher two hours off last Friday to attend religious services. Judging by the union complaint to the state, we guess the offer had few if any takers.
The state Public Employee Labor Relations Board rejected the union’s claim that “irreparable harm” would follow if its teachers didn’t get the whole Friday off for worship.
“In all my years in Manchester,” said union president Sue Hannan, “I have never experienced this type of massive disregard for people’s religious practices.”
Someone is certainly disregarding religion here but we don’t think it’s the school district.