Goodbye Ritchie

December 04, 2013

You probably don’t know the name Ritchie Webb, but when it comes to standing strong against the bullying tactics of the public teachers’ union bosses, he’s a leader and role model.

As President of the Neshaminy School Board in Bucks County, PA, Webb spent five years battling the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers (NFT).  The NFT wanted more money, more benefits….more of everything for themselves….even thought the district was suffering financially and test scores for the children in the district plummeted into the bottom half of state PSSA scores since the last NFT contract took place.

Despite abysmal results for the children of the district under NFT, the public sector teachers’ union bosses still wanted more for themselves.   Ritchie Webb wanted more for the children. And he spent the last five years of his life battling the union, refusing to give into their bullying tactics and demanding more for the students of Neshaminy. That’s why the Bucks County Courier Times had the news about Webb’s retirement right there on their front page….he was a beloved figure among all those in the district who really cared about the children having access to the best possible education.

Thinking about Richie and the battles he fought, I found it remarkable the paper didn’t bother to cover how public sector union bosses…who are supposed to be “for the children”…were able to sustain such a long battle and engage in very expense and costly campaigns against Richie and other members of the community and those running for school board.

Well, the answers kind of easy when you think about it.  The government collects all the money for the teachers unions.

Let me repeat it in case you missed it the first time:  The government collects all the money for the teachers unions.

Sometimes people object when I say the government “seizes” the money from the teachers.  “Well, Jennifer,” they say to me, “A teacher doesn’t have to join a union.”

Technically, they don’t have to “join” a union, but if they want to work as a teacher they have to pay a large share of union dues anyway…in some districts upwards of 70-80% of the dues.  Unions call it “fair share”.  I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem fair at all.  That seems like coercion.

And if that’s not bad enough….the public sector union bosses often use the money collected by the government for political ads – telling their members what candidate to support – and for direct lobbying.

So what’s the answer?

First, we need more Richie Webbs.  More people like Richie standing up and taking the unions head on…even if it takes 5 years.    Ritchie Webb has been a great ally and activist with AFP.  We salute Ritchie for his remarkable service to the children and taxpayers of Neshaminy school district and for standing strong against the union boss bullies.

Thanks to Ritchie and all of the great school board leaders, activists, moms, dads and yes, the teachers, who have stood up to the public sector teachers union.   We are grateful for what you have done, what you are doing and what we can all achieve together in the future.

But the other answer is stopping the government from collecting union dues through Paycheck Protection.  If you want to learn more about Paycheck Protection, please visit our sister organization, AFP Foundation’s website and share what you learn with your friends and neighbors!

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