Stephen Sawchuk: States Aim to Curb Collective Bargaining

In this February 9 article, Sawchuck writes:

First it was changes to pay, then evaluation systems, and then tenure laws. Now, lawmakers in several states are challenging collective bargaining, the foundation of teacher unionism.

In Idaho and Indiana, Republican leaders are proposing bills that would limit collective bargaining to wages and benefits, excluding education policy issues. And in Tennessee, a recently introduced bill would abolish altogether teachers’ ability to bargain collectively.

None of the proposals has yet passed its respective legislative chambers, but they are emerging in what may be a particularly favorable political climate, given the rightward shift in many state capitals as a result of the November elections…

At least three states have proposed bills to curtail or eliminate teacher bargaining. other states could follow suit.

IDAHO

SPONSORS: State Superintendent Tom Luna, a Republican, has proposed two bills. At press time, they awaited a sponsor and bill numbers.

One bill would limit negotiations to wages and compensation and require such negotiations to be held in open meetings. It would disallow “continuation clauses” in contracts—essentially clearing all previous policies for each negotiation. A second bill would require school districts to post copies of their current school district budgets and collective bargaining pacts on their websites.

INDIANA

SB 575: SPONSORS: Sens. Phil Boots, (R), Luke Kenley (R), Ed Charbonneau (R)

The bill would remove certain items from collective bargaining negotiations, including teacher-evaluation procedures, teacher-dismissal procedures, and school restructuring options, among others. it also would permit districts to impose certain employment terms if the teachers’ contract expires without a new one in place. contracts could not extend beyond two years.

STATUS: Passed Senate committee on Pensions and Labor, Jan. 27

HB 1337: SPONSORS: Reps. Robert Behning (R), David Frizzell (R)

Similar to the Senate bill, it also would alter the teacher-evaluation framework and allow for the dismissal of tenured teachers for performance reasons.

STATUS: Referred to house committee on Education, Jan. 13

TENNESSEE: HB 0130SPONSORS: Reps. Debra Maggart (R), Glen Casada (R)

The bill would prohibit teachers’ unions and other professional employees’ organizations from negotiating employment contracts with local school boards. Labor contracts signed before enactment of the bill would remain in force through their expiration.

STATUS: Filed for introduction, Jan. 18

SOURCE: Education Week

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