Union power: NJ teacher, tardy 111 times in 2 years, gets to keep job

America! It’s the land where anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make their mark if they’re willing to put in the elbow grease, ingenuity and drive to carve a path to success. Or, you could just join a union.

An elementary school teacher has been allowed to keep his job even though he was late for work 111 times over a two-year period.

In a decision filed Aug. 19, an arbitrator rejected an attempt by the Roosevelt Elementary School to fire 15-year veteran Arnold Anderson from his $90,000-a-year job, saying he was entitled to progressive discipline.

Anderson was late 46 times in the most recent school year through March 20 and 65 times in the previous school year, the arbitrator said. But the arbitrator criticized Anderson’s claim that the quality of his teaching outweighed his tardiness.

Sure, sure… I know what you’re thinking. Being late for work more than a hundred times in two school seasons is pretty bad. But his defense was too compelling for the arbitrator to ignore. You see, even when he shows up late and the kids are waiting around in an empty classroom with no instructor, when he does finally roll on in “he nevertheless delivers a superb educational experience to his grateful students.”

I put that last part in quotes and italics because that’s a direct quote from the arbitrator’s findings. No… I’m not kidding.

This is what you get in a tenure system. And let’s remember that this is the same union which accused Governor Chris Christie of being “dishonest” in his dealings with them over the underfunded, fat pensions for teachers like Mr. Anderson. It wasn’t for saying he wouldn’t pay them… just for asking to spread the payments out over a few years. This prompted Christie to invoke their wrath by responding a few days later with the insulting demand that they “get realistic” about trying to suck blood from a stone.

Of course, if you are a tenured teacher in New Jersey you can do things like have sex with students and then claim that it was a victimless crime. But those students were seniors. When you decide to have sex with multiple fifteen year old students you might actually go to jail, but the union will still have lawyers in there going to bat for you. (Strangely, those were both female teachers sneaking around with high school boys. When did that become a thing?)

On the plus side, the school actually at least tried to fire the teacher in this case. And while they failed, he’s out on leave without pay until next year. I suppose that’s something.

Jazz Shaw Jul 06, 2022 9:01 AM ET