Education

UTNO Proposes, But Board May Dispose

By Vaishali Honawar — November 10, 2008 1 min read

The United Teachers of New Orleans still lives. And it’s trying to take baby steps toward a comeback. But can it?

According to this story in the Times Picayune, the UTNO, which was all but destroyed during the reorganization of New Orleans schools after Hurricane Katrina, has proposed a collective bargaining contract in the five schools that are still under school board control.

Very few details of the proposed three-year contract are available, such as that it does not include raises for teachers in the first year, but does include $500 bonuses for national-board- certified teachers.

But here’s the hitch: Four of five freshly elected board members want the contract delayed until they arrive on board in January. Apparently they are against such a contract because of the district’s current financial state. And since they would make up a majority on the seven-member board, any chances that the contract would survive seem slim to none.

The historic union, the first in the deep South to win collective bargaining in 1974, has so far managed to stay afloat with considerable financial help from its parent, the American Federation of Teachers. It also helped that former AFT secretary-treasurer, Nat LaCour, was emotionally invested in UTNO, which he led several years ago.

But the struggle has been long and hard. Although its membership dropped to just a couple of hundred immediately after Katrina, it has since increased to about 1,500. Still, it remains well below the 5,000 members it boasted pre-Katrina. It hasn’t helped at all that many who now hold the strings of the city’s education system see the union as a hindrance above everything else.

The UTNO will likely survive, even if this contract falls through. But a union without collective bargaining rights is, well, a tiger with paper teeth. Or an “association.”

I, for one, don’t see the once fiery union being happy with that designation, especially given its history. But does it have any options left?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Principals Can Support Student Well-Being During COVID
Join this webinar for tips on how to support and prioritize student health and well-being during COVID.
Content provided by Unruly Studios

EdWeek Top School Jobs

CCLC Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Customer Support Specialist, Tier 1
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Customer Support Specialist, Tier 1
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Customer Support Specialist, Tier 1
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: February 3, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read