Yellow Sheet: Arizona Chamber President Calls Teachers 'Crybabies' for Wanting Raise

Arizona ranks lowest in the nation for teacher pay.

But Arizona Chamber of Commerce President Glenn Hamer apparently thinks the state's teachers — who make an average salary of just over $40,000 a year — are "crybabies" for wanting a raise.

The Yellow Sheet Report, a subscription-only political tip sheet, reports that Hamer criticized the Arizona Education Association for supporting Proposition 206, which proposed a $12 minimum wage and was approved by voters in November. The Chamber of Commerce unsuccessfully sued to block it.

"It’s amazing to me that the teachers unions are out there like a bunch of crybabies screaming about the difficulty of getting additional pay to teachers," Hamer said, according to Yellow Sheet..

The Chamber's tax filings show that Hamer earned a salary of $272,158 in 2014, the most recent year for which records are available. That's equivalent to the salaries of almost seven teachers.

Needless to say, people are pissed.

"I work 2 side jobs in addition to teaching," Landon Bell replied on Twitter. "I got all that in while being a father of 2 and a grad school student."
Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, fired back, blaming Hamer for educators leaving the state in droves,  which has led to a "crisis level" teacher shortage.

"It's these kinds of attacks and lack of respect for teachers in the classroom that is demoralizing teachers and driving them out of this state," Thomas said in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

"I find it hard to believe that the business community feels the way Glenn does about the men and women educating our state's future workforce."

Hamer issued a statement in response, calling the claims that he'd criticized teachers "fake news."

"I will concede that I should have used more artful language in describing the teachers unions," he said. "None of my criticism was directed at Arizona teachers, however, which is clear if one reads the story."

You can read the full statement here.

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Antonia Noori Farzan is a staff writer at New Times and an honors graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Before moving to Arizona, she worked for the New Times Broward-Palm Beach.