When a superintendent of a school district makes a statement to the public such as, “I will not be bullied” — when teachers and other employees of District 189 are peacefully attempting to collectively bargain to get a decent yearly salary for the work they are doing — it highly irritated me. I also hope that statement infuriated the entire community of East St. Louis.
I really want to think that that particular statement was a gaffe or he was unconsciously saying, “I will not let you do to me what I was trying to do to you for the last five years.” I could not believe he said that in the manner in which he did under the circumstances. To me, that was a negative personal statement, and it seemed to be all about him. When a chief representative for negotiations starts to get personal, there is very little room for progress, settlement or compromise.
Now, it’s time for members of the community of East St. Louis to respond and speak out — members such as: clergymen, civic leaders, business owners, parents, political leaders, the NAACP, educators, and others — to say loud and clear, “enough is enough, and our children, which are our future — in our community, must be educated by individuals with decent or adequate salaries.”
May God bless all unions, collective bargaining and East St. Louis Local 1220.
Reminder: Frederick Douglass said in 1857: “A power conceives nothing without a demand.”
Kelly Thrash Jr., Belleville