Teacher unions at Line Mountain and Mount Carmel Area school districts are attempting to make a point through their recent implementation of "working to the rule," a practice through which they curtail any work not specifically called for in their contracts, such as after-school tutoring or helping with fundraising activities.

In each district, the teachers are working under expired contracts while negotiations continue.

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There is likely little sympathy for teachers, however, from others in the working world, considering the still struggling economy and the fact that technology keeps many employees engaged with work 24/7.

Not only do many people work well beyond 7 1/2 hours a day as called for in the local teacher contracts, most certainly don't make $22 per hour when they do put in extra time. That's what 33 Line Mountain teachers were paid, to the tune of $1,800 total in taxpayer money, for child study meetings, bus duties and other responsibilities since the start of the school year just one month ago.

School board members rightly expressed disappointment in having to approve those payments in light of the growing tension over negotiations, but they're bound by the contract to do so.

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No employee should be expected to work for free, teacher or blue-collar laborer, and today's corporate greed has certainly led to many workers being taken advantage of for the benefit of the bottom line.

But teachers probably haven't helped their cause by refusing to do work for which they were well compensated, even if it was "after hours."

Establishing "working to the rule" looks foolish when many other professionals are working their fingers to the bone, and they're doing so for longer hours, for less money and fewer benefits, and without taking the summer off.