Sheldon goes after teachers, Democrats go after Sheldon for skipping work

In competing press releases sent out on Tuesday Tim Sheldon takes teachers to task for missing work for a strike and for not using a strike day to come to Olympia. Washington State Democrats say that’s Sheldon operating under a “Do as I say, not as I do,” program, citing his absences from county meetings.

We had a story on the hearing.

The dueling press releases follow:

From Washington State Democrats:

For Senator Tim Sheldon, Showing Up to Work is a “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” Issue

Republicans Held a Hearing Today on Tim Sheldon’s Bill Attacking Teachers For Walkout, Yet Sheldon Has a Rich History of Skipping Work

Seattle – Today, during a Senate committee hearing on Senator Tim Sheldon’s controversial bill to dock teachers pay for walking out in protest of the budget, Sheldon castigated Democrats for not showing up to his political side show. These theatrics are a lot to swallow, considering Tim Sheldon’s rich history of skipping work in his second job as a Mason County Commissioner.

According to the Columbian“The Mason County Journal, the local weekly paper in the area, reported in April 2013, “In the first 3½ months of 2013, Sheldon missed all or part of every Monday commission briefing session and has showed up late, left early or missed 8 of 16 Tuesday commission meetings.”

This year, he has already missed one meeting, and literally phoned it in for two more meetings. Sheldon has not returned any of his income for missing meetings.

For Senator Tim Sheldon, showing up to work is a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ issue,” said Jaxon Ravens, Chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party. “This is high-level chutzpah coming from someone who pulls down two taxpayer paychecks and refuses to show up for work an alarming amount of time. Maybe Sheldon should quit one of the two jobs he doesn’t do well and focus on either local government, or writing a fair budget that ends the time-wasting in Olympia.”

But it’s not just Tim Sheldon who can’t seem to find the time for work, it’s also the Senate Republican Caucus. They skipped work 7 of 14 Fridays during this year’s legislative session. And their leaders have spent the last two weekends, including Fridays, either fundraising for the Republican party or engaging in political strategy.

“Republicans seem to be focused on anything but passing a sustainable budget that puts the middle class first,” said Ravens. “If they used half the time they spent daydreaming about the Governor’s mansion working on the budget, we would be done by now.”

From Sheldon:

4,400 teachers strike against Legislature, and Sheldon disappointed none visit Olympia

OLYMPIA… Some 4,400 teachers Tuesday declared themselves on strike against the Washington State Legislature, and state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, said he was disappointed none of them found their way to the state Capitol.

“The teacher’s union called a strike against the Legislature, and yet not a single one of their members could be bothered to come to Olympia,” he said. “That ought to tell you the Legislature isn’t their real target. But it also demonstrates the support for this strike is about an inch deep.”

Sheldon is the sponsor of Senate Bill 6116, a measure that would dock teacher pay when they stage illegal strikes. The bill received a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. Neither the union nor any individual teacher showed up to defend the common practice of making up strike days at the end of the school year. In such cases teachers get full compensation. Intent of the measure is to deny compensation for make-up days.

Teachers in four school districts walked off the job Tuesday, including the state’s biggest, the Seattle School District. They are among 57 school districts statewide that have voted to cut class for a day. The walkouts, orchestrated by the Washington Education Association, violate a state law that says teachers and other public employees do not have the right to strike. In such cases teachers get full compensation. Intent of the measure is to deny compensation for make-up days.

“We didn’t see them in the committee hearing room,” Sheldon said. “We didn’t see them carrying signs on the Capitol steps. Imagine, teachers in the state’s biggest school district walked off the job Tuesday, ostensibly to protest the Legislature, and yet not a single one of them came down to the statehouse.

“Instead the goal was to frustrate parents who had to take a day off work to care for their kids because the schools weren’t open. The union leaders expect the parents to take it out on us. I suspect the silence in Olympia today can be taken as a sign that many of the rank and file members of the teachers’ union are embarrassed to be participating in such a scheme. They’re good people, and honestly, I can’t blame them.”

Sheldon observed that the Senate budget proposal gives K-12 education a bigger share of the state budget than has been seen in the last 30 years. The union is upset that legislative Democrats and Republicans balk at implementing a class-size ballot measure it backed last fall, requiring the hiring of 25,000 additional teachers and school employees at an eventual cost of $3.8 billion. The union also protests a Senate proposal that would provide a cost-of-living increase because the House has proposed giving teachers a larger raise.

Sheldon noted that Democrats on the Commerce and Labor committee staged a walkout before testimony was heard on his bill. “I am so disappointed in my fellow Democrats for walking out of that meeting,” he said. “The illegal strikes we are seeing this year have made it clear that union leaders are furious. But we need to remember it is the students and parents who suffer. There should be consequences. I know of no other profession where you can go on strike and still collect a paycheck for it, and when the strike is illegal the idea that teachers are paid is even more offensive.

“Part of me wishes we’d seen a few teachers today. But honestly, I’d rather not see them down here on a school day.”

One thought on “Sheldon goes after teachers, Democrats go after Sheldon for skipping work

  1. Wow, all of that from a group (or is it a gaggle?) of politicians that can not get their jobs done on time and on budget. How many “special” sessions will it take this year? How many of those dysfunctional elected officials in Olympia will not take a paycheck or garner any benefits from the special sessions? How many bills, rules and unfunded mandates have those same politicians created in the first official session? I do not agree with the teachers one day strikes but I hold those in Olympia in quite a bit more contempt because they have had many chances to work for the voters and taxpayers and have instead bowed to their own special interests and neglected their own responsibilities time and time again. Maybe a bill to fine everyone from the governor on down each day they allow this farce to continue is more fitting. As for teachers, that is up to the school district and its taxpayers and voters.

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