The Denver Classroom Teachers Association is in a contract dispute with the school district. It is gaining national attention because the major point of contention involves the future of the city’s unique performance pay program.
That’s the standard plot you’ll find in any story about the dispute. But there’s a subplot as well. It involves a group of teachers who think their own union is being obstructionist on the contract. They have set up a web site, and have 287 teacher signatures on a petition calling for a settlement.
Teacher Jessica Buckley says the union is reacting to the opposition. “I honestly felt very intimidated,” she told Rocky Mountain News reporter Nancy Mitchell. Mitchell explains that Buckley “cited the presence of the National Education Association and envelopes of cash given to schools as ‘incentives’ for teachers to pass out fliers explaining the union’s side of the dispute.”
DCTA President Kim Ursetta disputes Buckley’s interpretation of events. According to Mitchell’s story, “The NEA is assisting the union, Ursetta said, and a retired NEA spokesman who lives in Colorado did attend Thursday’s meeting. The envelopes of cash are meant to buy doughnuts for teachers passing out fliers.”