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  • Tennessee Considers Limits to Collective Bargaining

    Tennessee could soon become the latest state to deal public-sector collective bargaining a major blow.

    The Tennessee state House has just passed a measure that limits collective bargaining for teachers. Education employees would no longer be able to bargain over performance pay and school assignment policies, such as teacher compensation and layoffs. The Senate version of the bill eliminates collective bargaining altogether. The two bills will now have to be reconciled in conference committee before heading on to Governor Bill Haslam’s (R) desk for approval.

    Tennessee is working to curb the power that public-sector unions have over education. Across the country, unions have successfully lobbied for nearly five decades to prevent public education employees from having to contribute to the cost of their own health insurance premiums, for increases in pensions and other benefits, and against provisions such as parental school choice. They have also fought against tenure reform and merit pay for teachers.

    The Tennessee Education Association—the Tennessee affiliate of the National Education Association—took in more than $12 million in union dues in 2008 (the most recent year for which data is available). And according to the Center for Union Facts, it gave more than 90 percent of that money to Democrats or left-leaning causes. They also report that in Tennessee, teachers are tenured after just three years, and less than 1 percent of teachers are fired each year (compared to nearly 10 percent in private schools).

    Many of the problems plaguing American education today can be attributed directly to union power, which can be reduced through common-sense reforms at the state level.

    Tennessee is moving in a direction that will weaken the stranglehold that teachers’ unions have on education and begin ensuring that the interests of children—not adults in the system—come first. Breaking the stranglehold from these unions is the first step toward making long-term, meaningful education reform.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Tennessee Considers Limits to Collective Bargaining

    1. Eric De Loach Atlant says:

      This is an excellent article. I hope Tennessee gets it passed.

    2. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Time to follow FDR's advice – the only bit of wisdom I feel the man had.

      Lets not have public worker unions!

      Steps to free Governments of public unions:

      1.Follow OSHA like laws to ensure the workforce is safe.

      2.By law, pay public workers 90% of indexed private sector wages for job classification and time in the job. (That sacrifice they like to tell us of)

      3.Force public workers to obtain their health care, life insurance, retirement plans and other benefits directly from the private sector (Benefits brokers). Governments will simply pay the private sector average in percentage of income.

      4.By law, items like holidays and leave time will be based on indexed private sector averages for time in job.

      5.As for grievances, allow public workers to obtain group legal support from the private sector.

      I think this covers the lion’s share of an average public workers employee handbook. The rest can be handled with public worker contract that each sign upon hire.

      We will need to rid this nation of public worker unions. Anyone who will even start to try to say public workers are suffering under oppressive work environments has no clue. The above plan will ensure governments at the public worker level will do what they can to ensure the private sector is healthy and vibrant. It will be the only way public workers will personally benefit.

      Once this apparatus is in place, the private sector will be right there doing the same thing. Essentially we need to privatize all HR departments and allow competition to force and keep benefit costs low.

    3. Tamra King, Chapel H says:

      I think that the writer of this article needs to recheck his facts before writing. I have a copy of the TEA budget that I will gladly copy and send to you. None of our dues goes towards political action. These monies come from contributions by members not from dues. In fact, the 2010-11 budget contributed $155, 206 to endorsed candidates, and the same amount is budgeted for 2011-12. This come from the TEA Representative Assembly just last week. I was there and I voted on the budget. But then, perhaps you are not really interested in real facts.

      • Vivian says:

        Tamra. No one knows what you're talking about. Your irrelevent argument not withstanding, can you address the other aspects of the article? In other words, can you clearly state why teachers interests should be preserved at the continued expense of real, tangible improvements in children's educations? These are the real facts we're very interested in. Unfortunately, you all can't produce them.

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