Teachers Send Message to Substitutes

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MEDFORD, Ore. – While negotiating continues, some union members are sending a message to substitutes by picketing in front of their hotels.

While the district hasn’t revealed how many substitutes have been brought in to teach classes during the strike, many of them arrived Saturday.

In order to get into their rooms, subs have to cross the picket lines, and teachers say they want them to understand what that means.

“When they come in, even temporarily, and take our jobs, that allows the strike to go on longer,” said picket captain Lori Ross.

Over the next few days those substitutes will be given orientation, and classes will officially resume in most schools on Tuesday.

But teachers still say they hope a deal can be reached before that happens.

“I would like to be in my classroom on Monday,” said Ross. “That’s where I’d like to be.”

Substitute teachers will be given orientation on Sunday before into the classrooms on Tuesday, assuming a deal isn’t reached by then.


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  1. Matt says:

    To the MEA…You have managed to harm the trust and faith Medford has had with its beloved teachers. Your lack of clarity and complete loss of singular focus has confused hopeful allies. Your public relations efforts have failed miserably. So before there is irreparable damage to our schools, go back to wherever you came from and dont return until you can actually help people.

    1. Lucy says:

      Matt, FYI the MEA IS the “beloved teachers”

  2. R. L. Moorman says:

    Teachers need to stop whining and do their damned jobs. They are over paid and under worked and the kids get dumber every year. I say fire all of them and replace them with people that can DO THE JOB!!!

    1. Lucy says:

      Why RL….the subs are going to be great, right? You have no clue what a teacher does…I am betting that you wouldn’t last a week!

  3. Ryan Navickas says:

    Invest in experienced educators, invest in our community, invest in our kids. Hire out of town replacements with unknown credentials and you never know. You might get what you pay for.

    1. Kenji Bales says:

      Ryan, I know you can’t be that ignorant. All the subs have verified licenses in good standing. All have submitted to drug tests, just like the regular teachers. The MEA is using scare tactics and intimidation. Substitutes are real teachers, many working the strike have been in real classrooms. Some are newly licensed and some are retired.

      The MEA needs to stop being greedy. I am self employed and if the money isn’t there I can’t go on strike and complain. I have to make changes in my budget, etc.

  4. K. says:

    I am very sorry to say that this strike is ridiculous and absurd! Never in my life have I ever thought that there were selfish teachers in the world until moving back to Southern Oregon. When you started teaching, it wasn’t because you wanted money, it wasn’t because you wanted vacation time, it was about helping students to learn just like your teachers helped you! The fact that you are now ruining innocent children’s lives because you think you need more money just breaks my heart! My poor cousin is now having to be bused from one side of Medford all the way to the other side almost to Central Point because of this. He is a special needs child who already has a hard time with school, and is behind his grade level, but now he has to move schools in the middle of the year, only gets to go for a couple hours a day certain days of the week all because you think you’re underpaid. SERIOUSLY!?! Go work at a fast food restaurant or a gas station and live off of those wages with no insurance like a good majority of people do, trade in your nice cares for pieces of crap and survive like the rest of the people in this town who don’t even come close to your current wages then you can complain that you’re underpaid. When did this become such a selfish profession? If you’re too cheap to teach in Medford, then go live somewhere else and work there. You are all selfish people who need to quit acting like teenagers!

    1. Sara says:

      Why don’t you ask the district why they rejected the MEA’s offer to accept their original deal?

    2. Lucy says:

      Get over yourself K. Don’t you think you are being just a little bit melodramatic? I don’t think these children’s lives are ruined. Educate yourself dear and you will learn that it’s really not about the money but even if it was, don’t you think these teachers have families to support?

  5. J.O. says:

    Why insult the abilities of the subs? They are either young grads that are affected by the education budget restricting new hires because of a variety of reasons, retired teachers, or those who choose not to work full time. Some are barely making it on maybe 2 or 3 sub jobs a week. Others don’t agree with the union position and others think the kids deserve an education during the strike and that parents shouldn’t’ have to suffer financial hardship to figure out day care options. It’s childish and extremely facetious to try and shift any blame to the subs.

  6. David says:

    K said it right. They dont give a darn about the kids or the community just what they get and dont get. ALL of the teacher’s that voted for the strike should be fired. I have lived here my whole live and I cannot believe they act this way. What make them so special that they should have it so much better than the rest of us when they are paid with OUR tax dollars. SELFISH !

    1. Stacy Mc K says:

      These teachers have crossed the line and need to take a step back. If you walk off the job and refuse to teach our children. Then don’t wine when someone steps up to do your job for you. I say your pay should be based on your performance and The Nathanial standard shows that southern Oregon schools are some of the worst. We rank down near the bottom. We have been placed at the same level as Alabama. It is a shame that the students that live in this area don’t have the teachers that care to go above and teach them. The response you get is we don’t have time. I have 25 kids in my class. When I went to school we had over 30 kids per class and the teachers still gave us the attention needed to excel. I was not one for setting still in class. I would get up and move around disrupt. Now days they call that ADD and want to medicate kids to be zombies. If the teachers can’t control the class then find another line of work. Like someone else said fire them all like they did with the air controllers. Bring in teachers that want to work and want to teach our children. I know that we have some great teachers in this valley that try to reach out to our kids and do provide a good education but the problem is we have very few. I would say less than 10 %. I work with all the schools in this area thru the foster kids. I see these teachers every day and I say it is the perfect time to force them out and start new. For the few that do go above and beyond cross the lines and come back and teach our kids. For the rest take a hike. I say stay strong school board. You have a lot of support in this area.

    2. Sara says:

      So, your position is that highly educated professionals (as the district keeps touting, but does not want to recognize as such in reality) should be as miserable as you think everyone else is, accept both worsening pay and employment conditions (that also negatively affect the students), and it’s *good* for our community to lose a significant source of middle-class jobs?

      Think you need to go back to school; I recommend economics and English.

  7. DAN says:


  8. b c says:

    I understand why the teachers believe they need to strike but I DO NOT understand why they want students to be hostage to their need. The students have the right to be taught you decided to strike the students do not have a choice quit trying to intimidate people

    OK strike if you want but leave the substitute teachers alone and the stay crap out of the street! Do not block traffic you do not endear anyone to your cause when you act like an idiot

  9. Stacy Mc says:

    I can’t believe what I read here.These teachers need to step back.These people only took these jobs because you refused to do it. Look at the national education standard for schools. Oregon didn’t have one school make the top 500 and a southern Oregon didn’t even make the top 1000.I say if you want more than you need to preform. Look at what happens when the air controllers went on strike they were all fired.The strike busters were given the job’s .It is time for a change here as well.If you don’t want to perform your job and perform it well then you should be replaced.

    1. Bob says:

      I would refer you to this link:

      It appears that there are Oreegun schools in the top 500.

  10. n says:

    I cannot believe teachers complain about pay and benefits…I have a Master’s degree in teaching plus a graduate certificate, but choose to work with young children and families who are dealing with poverty, addiction, domestic violence, and mental illness. I make half of what Medford teachers make and don’t have benefits nearly as good as theirs. I still have the same student loans Medford teachers do…but I choose to do my job because I believe it will help children and families succeed later in their lives. I love my job because of the impact it has on society and I would never strike for more money because I know the non-profit I work for doesn’t have the money and I worry about the effects a strike would have on my children, I know there are many like me in my field. We all drive old cars, shop for bargains, and live simply….All I can say is shame on you, Medford teachers.

    1. Sara says:

      Thank you for your work, and I’m glad you find it satisfying.

      Ultimately though, you made a choice in career path these teachers didn’t. You trust that the nonprofit you work for is genuinely doing the best they can by you, not only in terms of compensation but in work conditions. The teachers have no such faith in the district, because it has broken promise after promise after promise. They do not want to be on strike and are aware of the impact on the kids but believe the effect of the continual degradation of public education if unopposed will be far worse and long-lasting. They were willing to accept the district’s compensation offer, but not to accept work conditions changes that are frankly ridiculous, insulting, and do not benefit the kids.

  11. Lucy says:

    Subs are usually subs for a reason….. In response to all of you who are calling the teachers names, I say educate yourselves and find out exactly why these teachers are striking. I urge you to actually talk to a teacher on strike. Go down to the picket line and ask them why they are striking…you will find it really isn’t the money, like the district would have you believe with their full page ads, which aren’t cheap by the way, but more about promises being kept and them being guaranteed they will have the time during the day to prepare to teach your child. You are all whining about wanting a good education for your children, then support the teachers, some of whom have 20-30 years of experience behind them, and don’t call them names. What are you teaching your children by doing that AND what does it say about you as a parent to that child that would send your child back into the classroom with a person like you have been describing this week after the strike is over?

    1. J.O. says:

      That’s pretty derogatory…subs are usually subs for a reason. Where have you been the last 6 years when the education industry went bust with the economy and all these bright and motivated people with Masters Degrees from great schools couldn’t find jobs. Glad to see you’re non-judgemental and unbiased. It’s easy to judge others when you are sitting in a cushy position. I stand by my friends who are bright, motivated and think of the kids instead of their early retirement benefits. Subs and full time teachers alike.

      1. Lucy says:

        J.O. you have no clue who I am or what I do for a living. Subs are usually subs for a reason…they couldn’t find a full time job…it’s not derogatory, it’s the truth. Can’t handle it? Too bad!

        1. J.O. says:

          Lucy, you have no clue who I am or what I do for a living. Subs are highly qualified graduates with masters degrees who can’t find jobs because the economy tanked and teachers aren’t retiring and bad teachers can’t get fired because of the union and seniority. And as A.D. said, some subs don’t want or NEED to work full time. Those who won’t acknowledge that are sticking their head in the sand and trying to justify it by pretending they are superior are fooling themselves. It’s the truth. Can’t handle it? Too bad!

    2. A.D. says:

      I am a sub. BY CHOICE. I have young kids at home and it is a great way for me to keep my foot in the door/classroom and contribute financially to our family. I have had the opportunity to work full time as well, but have turned it down. I uphold the same licensure and standards as any teacher does. I am highly qualified, just as a full time teacher is. It is simply MY CHOICE to sub, not because of how you make it sound, that Subs aren’t good enough.

  12. John says:

    Teachers are professionals and should be paid as such. All of them have college degrees, many with master’s degree, and a few with PhDs. Their salaries and benefits should be comparable to other professionals. Education is the most important job on the planet since it prepares students for the future which effect the future of our country. Most people posting negative comments on this site are ignorant of the demands and challenges teachers face in the classroom.

  13. Earl says:

    I agree with those who say, educate yourselves. Double-dipping Dr. Long, who is pulling in over $200k of taxpayer dollars this year in salary and PERS, is leading a deliberate campaign of mis-information, half-truths and outright lies in an attempt to turn the people of Medford against our teachers. Get the facts before you start to hate on your teachers. You’re being lied to.

  14. Tanya says:

    I understand the right for teachers to strike. I understand that many jobs these days deserve more money than they are getting I have seen highly educated people taking Minimum wage jobs just to make it. This does not negate the fact you can stand up for what you believe you are worth.

    But I do not think penalizing the children in any way helps you to prove your worth. I also do not think that allowing Teachers who are probably hurting to survive with all of the layoffs in this state taking a trip away from their families to make a little money to support THEIR families, to educate your students makes you look like caring and understanding people.

    I have worked with many businesses who have gone bankrupt, many who have had to close their doors after 20, 30, 40 even 50 years in business. I have seen people having to learn how to use a computer for the first time to learn how to write a resume as they have been at the same job for 30 years almost ready for retirement but need income.

    Yes, teachers are very valuable. Our students are valuable. So is our economy, so is that substitute feeding their family, so are the people who say they just don’t have any more to give right now.

    Hope you all come to a good agreement, and soon, and go back to showing the caring understanding people you are.

    1. Susan says:

      You nailed it.

  15. Susan says:

    What I meant was, “Tanya, you nailed it.”

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