AZ Chamber Prez says AZ Teachers are “Crybabies”

Linda Oyon

Cross-posted from

Glenn Hamer, President of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, said, “It’s amazing to me that the teachers unions are out there like a bunch of crybabies screaming about the difficult of getting additional pay to teachers.” His comment was in response to why teachers union should support reforms to the initiative process.

There are so many things wrong with this comment, I don’t even know where to start. First of all, I’m told that Hamer makes about six times the amount the average Arizona teacher makes. After all, Arizona’s teachers are the 47th lowest paid in the nation with the average teacher pay falling nationally 1.6 percent over the past decade, but 7.6 percent in Arizona. The low pay is a big part of the reason 53 percent of Arizona teacher positions were either vacant or filled by uncertified personnel in January 2017. And oh by the way, teacher colleges enrollment is down and 25 percent of AZ teachers will be eligible for retirement by 2020, further exacerbating the problem.

Secondly, just what teachers’ unions is he talking about? Arizona is a “right to work” state (which basically means workers have no rights.) This means that our teachers don’t enjoy the collective bargaining power a statewide union would afford. The Arizona Education Association (AEA) helps teachers by advocating for support of our public schools and working to improve the professional lives of teachers and school staff members.

Thirdly, if education advocacy organizations like AEA aren’t “out there…screaming…for additional teacher pay,” who will ensure our teachers are paid enough so they can feed their families on their teaching salaries? Teachers don’t teach to get rich. They do it because they love their students. They don’t want to be out advocating for pay raises, they want to be in the classroom teaching our kids. Teachers earn just 62.8 percent of the salary that other college degree-holders do in the state – the lowest nationwide and Wallethub scored the state the third-worst for teachers in terms of “job opportunity and competition” and academic & work environment.” To bring all our teachers’ salaries more in line with national averages, it would cost about $600 million ($10K per teacher.)

Hamer no doubt has an agenda. He recently teamed up with Lisa Graham Keegan to publish an exuberant support piece for Betsy DeVos on the website “A for Arizona.” In it, they wrote, they are “very pleased with her nomination” writing that it, “signals a shift in the conversation around education policy in exactly the right way.” That “right way” no doubt is the full-steam ahead commercialization of our district community schools.

I’m sure you’ve seen the national backlash to President Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. You also probably saw at least snippets of her confirmation hearings. She has proven herself entirely unqualified by her lack of credentials and experience with public education, her responses to questions during her hearings, and the total lack of positive results she affected on education in Michigan. And yet, Glenn Hamer sings her praises.

But let me return to where I began which is with Hamer calling Arizona teachers “crybabies” for asking they be paid a wage that allows them to stay in the classroom AND feed their families. I don’t think that is asking too much and according to recent polling, most Arizonans (77 percent) think our schools need more funding with teacher pay a high priority. If you, like me, would like to send a message to Hamer that he doesn’t speak for most Arizonans who value our teachers and want them properly compensated, click here to link to the corporate members page on the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. I encourage you to look through the various levels of membership and note those companies that belong. Then click on a few of their logos or links to get their contact info and let them know you do not appreciate their Chamber President’s words. You can also click here to go to the Chamber’s contact page to express your displeasure with Mr. Hamer himself. We DO have power, we just need to use it!




  1. Your absolutely right Frances, I would suggest a standard size room of 32 second graders would suffice. Glenn would be gone by lunch time with tears running and soiled shorts no doubt. The dead give away is his command of the English language this “Prez” possesses. I find it amazing how people like this with zilch experience in the field of education have convinced themselves they know everything.

  2. The GOP is continuing their fight to destroy the teachers unions because unions give most of their money to Dems.

    In a sane world, we’d pay teachers like doctors.

  3. We know the people and groups who continually thwart the advancement of the issues and concerns of children, their schools and the professional educators who serve them. Hamer and our governor are prominent leaders of this crowd. Since that has been the case for so long, I remain baffled and frustrated with the fact that AEA and other usually right-minded advocates for the interests of children joined forces with these ideologues and got behind Prop 123. The passage of that half-assed measure gives cover to the rhetoric and actions of the anti-public schools lobby in our state. None of us should ever again allow the lure of pocket change to tempt us to get in bed with these snakes and charlatans. We sent a series of mixed messages to the electorate that we will regret many times in the future in the interest of getting back some of the money they stole from kids and public schools over many years. School districts seeking additional funds and legislators pulling for more state money will have to confront the question: “What about all the money schools got when we voted for Prop 123?” Educators and our allies are too often tempted to compromise given the political climate in our state. Instead, we should keep up the good fight and spend more time educating the voters on what makes true sense.

    • I hear you Frustrated Educator. Unfortunately, starving people will eat just about anything…and, district schools did win some concessions in the deal. It just wasn’t nearly enough.

  4. what else can they do but cry? if they take action they can be fired. not everybody can fight back like the anarchists at berkeley.

  5. Irresponsible and inane. Get your ass in a classroom yourself, there Glenn, you’ll be the one crying. I guarantee you could not handle it.

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