Best of the Blogs

Blog of the Week

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments


Life Without Collective Bargaining

What happens if Tennessee lawmakers pass a bill to eliminate collective bargaining for teachers?

The bill’s got a shot, given the Republican-dominated legislature. But it wouldn’t mean the end of the union or its influence, for a couple of reasons.

First, consider “meet and confer” arrangements which exist mainly in nonbargaining states or districts where the union doesn’t represent enough teachers to trigger bargaining. Under the arrangements, the association has a right to discuss wages and working conditions with administrators, though nothing from the discussions is legally binding.

Second, the Tennessee Education Association could continue its lobbying and advocacy.

It’s safe to say that Tennessee teachers don’t want to lose their bargaining rights, but lawmakers are probably mistaken if they think getting rid of bargaining means doing away with the union, too.

One Way to Collaborate: Bargain Frequently

Several districts spotlighted at the big labor-management conference last week in Denver bargain frequently, on the order of once a month or more to troubleshoot and tweak policy as needed.

Douglas County, Colo., officials meet on a monthly basis and update their contract a couple of times a year in a process called “living bargaining.”

In Helena, Mont., bargaining teams meet all year round and take note of changes they want to make in the contract. At the end of the year, the collection of changes is put to teachers for ratification.

Not exactly the norm in labor relationships.

Vol. 30, Issue 21, Page 16

Published in Print: February 23, 2011, as Blog of the Week
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories