The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

May 26, 2010
Ginger takes a phone bank call from the teachers union
0511-0809-1916-1268_Vintage_Woman_Talking_on_the_Telephone_Clip_Art_clipart_image.jpgI'm not usually at home on a Tuesday morning after 9, but I just happened to be there this past week when the phone rang and the person on the other line announced she was with the California Teachers Association.

Then, without giving me a chance to respond, she immediately launched into her scripted spiel - essentially a long denunciation of the California Legislature in general and Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, specifically, for cutting support to California schools.

Memo to CTA on effective communication: Tell your paid callers to read their scripts more slowly, and with better articulation. Try pausing at the end of sentences or where the comma's go. It helps the listener to understand what the hell they're talking about.

When the CTA's breathless paid caller finished her script, she asked me if I would like her to transfer me to Sen. Darrell Steinberg's office so I could tell him myself how outraged I was. I told her that I'd rather be transferred to CTA union bosses. I wanted to tell them how outraged I was that the union was throwing younger teachers under the bus so that senior teachers wouldn't have to raise their co-pay for a doctors office visit from measly $1 to $15, which is more in line with what most of the rest of the world pays.

She paused then finally, clearly confused, and told me she didn't have the capability to do that. Did I want to speak to Sen. Steinberg?

When I called Steinberg's office the next day I learned that they had gotten between 600 and 700 calls from people who were transferred to their office in the same way that I was about to be. Some clearly bought the CTA's line and blamed Steinberg for education cuts. Many others were confused and wanted to know why Steinberg's office was calling them. And a substantial number were senior citizens who didn't want to be bothered.

Rank and file teachers, I have a question for you: Is this really how you want your dues spent?

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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