MASON, OH (FOX19) –
Parents and teachers in Warren County want more money and better benefits for the Mason City School District.
The Mason Education Association, which represents 650 educators, has been negotiating a new employment contract since April. Mason teachers say they’re not only concerned about money and benefits but also concerned about cuts to academic programs and facilities.
The union also declared a “no confidence” position in superintendent Gail Kist-Kline.
The district meanwhile says it’s hopeful that negotiations will continue during the summer months, and a contract settlement will be reached before the beginning of the school year.
According to school board members, Dr. Kist-Kline was hired following a levy failure, and asked to lead during a time of economic challenge that required the district to improve efficiency and make difficult decisions.
The story continued with the MEA (Mason Education Association) threatening to go on strike and late in the afternoon on July 8th 2014, a contract agreement was reached which will then go to a vote by the union members. Teachers all across Ohio rejoiced as one of the wealthiest districts in that state had proven that it was once again ripe for pillaging. The entire story of how the teacher’s union in Mason threatened a hostile action—work stoppage—preventing parents who pay the taxes there from retaining their free baby sitting service at the end of summer, forced the payment of ransom which were pay increases. It was all too reminiscent of an old pirate story about Blackbeard’s blockade of the Charleston harbor in 1718. That old story about pirate action was essentially the same as the modern story of the MEA in Mason, Ohio 2014.
Edward Teach (also Edward Thatch, c.1680—22 November 1718), better known as Blackbeard, was a notorious English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies. Although little is known about his early life, he was probably born in Bristol, England. He may have been a sailor on privateer ships during Queen Anne’s War before settling on the Bahamian island of New Providence, a base for Captain Benjamin Hornigold, whose crew Teach joined sometime around 1716. Hornigold placed him in command of a sloop he had captured, and the two engaged in numerous acts of piracy. Their numbers were boosted by the addition to their fleet of two more ships, one of which was commanded by Stede Bonnet, but toward the end of 1717 Hornigold retired from piracy, taking two vessels with him.
Blockade of Charleston
By May 1718 Teach had awarded himself the rank of Commodore and was at the height of his power. Late that month his flotilla blockaded the port of Charleston (then known as Charles Town) in South Carolina. All vessels entering or leaving the port were stopped, and as the town had no guard ship, its pilot boat was the first to be captured. Over the next five or six days about nine vessels were stopped and ransacked as they attempted to sail past Charleston Bar, where Teach’s fleet was anchored. One such ship, headed for London with a group of prominent Charleston citizens which included Samuel Wragg (a member of the Council of the Province of Carolina), was the Crowley. Her passengers were questioned about the vessels still in port and then locked below decks for about half a day. Teach informed the prisoners that his fleet required medical supplies from the colonial government of South Carolina, and that if none were forthcoming, all prisoners would be executed, their heads sent to the Governor and all captured ships burnt.
Wragg agreed to Teach’s demands, and a Mr. Marks and two pirates were given two days to collect the drugs. Teach moved his fleet, and the captured ships, to within about five or six leagues from land. Three days later a messenger, sent by Marks, returned to the fleet; Marks’s boat had capsized and delayed their arrival in Charleston. Teach granted a reprieve of two days, but still the party did not return. He then called a meeting of his fellow sailors and moved eight ships into the harbor, causing panic within the town. When Marks finally returned to the fleet, he explained what had happened. On his arrival he had presented the pirates’ demands to the Governor and the drugs had been quickly gathered, but the two pirates sent to escort him had proved difficult to find; they had been busy drinking with friends and were finally discovered, drunk.
Teach kept to his side of the bargain and released the captured ships and his prisoners—albeit relieved of their valuables, including the fine clothing some had worn.
The behavior of the MEA was essentially of the same morality as Blackbeard’s seizer and extortion of Charleston. Blackbeard’s actions were designed to exploit the weaknesses of the governor; the MEA was designed to exploit the weaknesses of the superintendent of Mason schools. Both groups used force and fear to obtain wealth—the Blackbeard pirates used fear of physical violence, the Mason teachers’ used the fear of work stoppage by refusing to perform contracted obligations as employees of the state of Ohio. There is no real difference between the piratical acts of Blackbeard or the MEA.
So why weren’t the Mason teachers arrested for their piratical acts instead of rewarded with more money? Because the pirates run the government in 2014 unlike in 1718. The only difference between the MEA and Blackbeard is that they are now the lawyers, legislators, and union leaders who have infiltrated the law to have easy access to the plunder of the tax payers. Pirates have changed their tactics over the years—instead of violence and blockades, they just gained a government backed service—like education—and threatened to take that service away unless they obtained their desires. The ideal of the blockade of education services through a labor strike and Blackbeard’s extraction of medical supplies from the Governor of Charleston are the same because tax payers have no other option. There are no other schools for their children to attend just as there was no other way out of the harbor of Charleston for the citizens to embark on any kind of trade by sea. So Blackbeard had the city by the throat and used it to his advantage just as the MEA had Mason by the throat regarding education. The intentions were extortion to fulfill the desires of piracy. The only difference is that these modern pirates in the MEA were backed by the law which is an evolution from the days of Blackbeard. But the intentions were the same—fear, power, and plunder at the expense of others.
So if anyone dared wish to see examples of modern piracy, don’t look to the South China Sea or the dangerous waters off of Somalia—just look in Mason, Ohio at the members of the Mason Teacher’s Association and you will see pirates just as vicious and greedy as Blackbeard.