Editorial: Union should take a break

Justifiable as their grievances may be, Oak Harbor’s Public Schools Employee Union should consider taking a break from protesting until after the school levy election March 8.

At a time when administrators, teachers, and education supporters in general need to present a united front to the community, the PSE union is picketing school board meetings and demonstrating on sidewalks, demanding better pay for the aides, maintenance workers, bus drivers and secretaries it represents.

As is well known, building community support for school elections in Oak Harbor is difficult enough without union protesters making voters wonder if there’s something wrong with the schools. For those with short memories, two proposals to build a new high school recently failed at the polls, and there’s no certainty that the March 8 election will fare any better.

The fact is, the March 8 levy is crucial. The district’s arts, physical education and higher academic programs depend on it. And much of the levy money goes to fund positions occupied by members of the Public Schools Employees Union.

There will still be plenty of time after March 8 for the union to make its case known to the public. Until then, consider setting aside those “fair contract” and “respect” signs, and replace them with “support our schools” and “vote March 8” signs.

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