Posts tagged: collective bargaining
The Idaho Press-Tribune reports today that a Canyon County judge has upheld collective bargaining law for Idaho teachers, ruling that the Nampa School District can’t skirt the local teachers union to sign contracts with individual teachers calling for unpaid furloughs. The Nampa Education Association, not the individual teachers, is the legal negotiating agent between educators and the district, 3rd District Judge Molly Huskey ruled.
Paul Stark, attorney for the NEA, told the Press-Tribune, “We’re appreciative that the rule of law has been upheld in this case, and that the collective bargaining process has been defended and validated. The ruling is going to ensure that deviations from the law like this will not happen again in Nampa, and hopefully not in other parts of the state.
The newspaper reported that district public information officer Allison Westfall said the district was disappointed with the order, but glad the matter’s now settled. “Our sole intent last December was to find a way to accommodate those individual teachers who came forward wanting to volunteer for furlough days to help with the district’s financial crisis,” she said. Read the paper’s full report here from reporter John Funk.
At least 21 Idaho school districts are unilaterally imposing contract terms on teachers this week, after failing to reach agreement with local teachers unions - an option for districts under the state's controversial “Students Come First” school reform law.
In the Lakeland School District in Kootenai County, members of the Lakeland Education Association voted 96 percent “no” on the district's last offer on salaries and benefits for the coming year, which, like the past four years, includes no base salary increase, but did offer some small thaws in the multi-year pay freeze. “The law is pretty strict now,” said Lakeland business manager Tom Taggart. “So pretty much what they rejected, we just turned around to the board and the board approved it.”
Other North Idaho school districts unilaterally imposing contract terms this week include Kellogg, Mullan and Wallace; in southern Idaho, they range from small districts like Middleton and Cascade to larger ones like Idaho Falls, Nampa and Caldwell. Carrie Scozzaro, a high school art teacher and outgoing president of the Lakeland association, said teachers feel like they're no longer being listened to as professionals. “There's that sort of hopelessness of not being part of the process and being accused of being part of the problem, which is frustrating,” she said.
The Students Come First laws included rolling back most collective bargaining rights for teachers; limiting contract negotiations to salary and benefits and making all contract terms expire each year; and shifting funds from salaries to merit-pay bonuses, a new focus on online learning, and laptop computers for high school students. State schools Superintendent Tom Luna, who proposed the reforms, said it's good news that just 21 of Idaho's 130 school districts and charter schools weren't able to reach agreement by strict new deadlines. “They said there would be strikes, there would be walkouts, there would be lawsuits - none of that has happened,” Luna said Wednesday. “If you measure this against the doomsday scenario that they painted, I think this is very positive news.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Boise's police and fire unions have announced an agreement with the city in which they'll give up cost-of-living pay increases in fiscal year 2013 that already were promised in their existing contracts, to help the city balance its budget and avoid layoffs. “This agreement is a shining example of how city governments and public-safety unions can work together to solve difficult problems,” said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who said the city will save $1.275 million. Click below for the city's full announcement.