Do you remember that commercial? Ironically, the PAID actors would throw open their windows and doors, stick their heads outside, and yell, "It's my money and I want it NOW!" I am not one of those paid actors - I am a public school teacher whose contract expired in 2012. I am a public school teacher in a district where the district administration and the teachers' union have not been to the bargaining table, in order to sign a new contract, since 2009. (Mind you, they have been to the table, but apparently neither side can seem to agree to or compromise on anything.) Lastly, I am a public school teacher who is owed over $5,000 in back pay and I have no idea when I will see it.
I am also a public school teacher with over $50,000 in student loans; monthly bills totaling over $2,000; and a part-time job waiting tables in order to try and have some sort of spending money. As I write (at 11:30 pm), I am waiting to board the metro in order to get home after a full day of teaching and a shift at my restaurant job. I will not get home until after midnight and I'll be up at 6:45 AM in order to work both jobs again tomorrow. What kind of life is that for a teacher in one of the highest-paid - if not the absolute highest-paid - districts in the country?
Sure, we could get into a long debate about teachers being underpaid and overworked, but that's another blog post for another time. In fact, I think I've already wrote it. This particular post is simply about receiving the salary that my contract was supposed to provide me with. This is about the four years that have gone by without an adequate cost of living increase for employees of a city whose cost of living goes up exponentially each year - and I have five years of experience and a Master's degree. If I were on a normal salary track, I would've had to move back in with my mother a long time ago.
If I could, I would throw open my metaphorical window or door and shout to my superiors, "IT'S MY MONEY AND I WANT IT NOW!"
... but my contract, which expired in 2012, says that my colleagues and I are not allowed to go on strike.