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Teacher Union Leaders Out of Touch

March 28, 1993

As a member of Irvine Unified School District ITA (Irvine Teachers Assn.), I am very disillusioned with the current direction the leadership of our union has chosen. As a Special Projects team member in the district office for the past nine years, I have firsthand knowledge of the impact that budget cuts have made on district employees.

It is devastating to see dedicated employees and leaders of meaningful programs for children being cut in an unprecedented manner for the past two years. I too will join the crowd in the unemployment line if the budget crisis cannot be resolved.

On what basis does Barbara Dresel say to the board and district administration ("School Board Starts Teacher, Staff Layoffs," March 4) that they have not demonstrated good faith in implementing all possible plans to reduce expenditures? ITA leadership seems sadly out of touch with the reality of the situation.

With more that 100 jobs on the line, I have yet to talk to a tenured teacher who would not be willing to give up a salary increase if it meant the difference between undermining our current programs and securing the future job of a colleague.

Since I have been in the district, I have never had an ITA leader or representative call or write to ask me what direction or position the association should take on any bargaining issue. If my $600-plus yearly dues are meant to secure representation, then where and how is my voice to be recognized? The ITA leadership does not speak for me or any other teachers I've talked with recently.

Every employee in the district has the potential to positively influence the lives of our children. Let's quit posturing and playing out narrow labor union roles and return IUSD to a collegial team of district employees, management, classified and teachers working together to provide creative educational opportunities for our students.

MARION B. ZENOFF

San Clemente

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