Is collective bargaining dead? 21 Idaho districts impose teacher contracts unilaterally
The Idaho school districts’ ability to impose contracts without negotiating with unions comes under Idaho’s new but not well-known school reform laws; they rolled back most collective bargaining rights for teachers and limited contracts to one-year terms bringing teachers closer and closer to ‘independant contract status’ or ‘at will workers’. They also limited contract negotiations to salary and benefits only and shifted budget money from salaries to merit bonuses.
Are teachers moving closer and closer to the Walmart model of education? As I wrote in 2009, the answer is “yes” (http://www.dailycensored.com/2009/11/17/good-news-for-charter-school-chains-in-california-asset-stripping-gives-them-titles-to-public-schools/).
Penni Cyr, president of the Idaho Education Association, said members across the state are frustrated that the new talks are limited to salaries and benefits, preventing teachers from addressing issues like overcrowded classrooms and learning environments.
From Cyr’s perspective:
“That’s devaluing them as professionals who know what children need to succeed” (http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/21-Idaho-districts-impose-teacher-contracts-3652336.php).
All of this while all eyes were on Wisconsin reminding us that this is a national problem and even international for it is the class struggle waged by the ruling class against the 99%.
Other districts that unilaterally imposed contract terms include Kellogg, Mullan and Wallace in northern Idaho and Middleton, Cascade, Idaho Falls, Nampa and Caldwell in southern Idaho.
State Schools Superintendent Tom Luna was delighted and said it was good news that just 21 out of 130 school districts and charter schools weren’t able to reach agreement by the deadline. He works for the privatizers as a ‘public employee’. You pay his salary.
According to Luna:
“They said there would be strikes, there would be walkouts, there would be lawsuits - none of that has happened,” Luna told The Spokesman-Review (http://bit.ly/M99LEX ). “If you measure this against the doomsday scenario that they painted, I think this is very positive news.”
The ‘they’ of course are the teachers that teach Idaho children. You know: the greedy teachers who entered the profession so they could make money and buy ‘stuff”.
Carrie Scozzaro, a high school art teacher and outgoing president of the Lakeland Education Association in Kootenai County, said teachers feel like they’re no longer being listened to as professionals. she is right. That is due to the fact that teaching is no longer a profession it is a Walmart job that lasts for three to five years and teachers are mere Walmart workers and greeters.
Carrie Scozzaro went on to say what many teachers feel and have for decades if not longer:
“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” (ibid). Sure, democracy is the last thing autocrats want.
In the Lakeland School District, 96 percent of the union members rejected the district’s last offer on salaries and benefits for the coming years. That offer, like the past four years, included no base salary increase. sIt was a sham negotiation by the district conducted in bad faith.
In 2011 — the first year the new laws were in effect — a couple of Idaho school districts unilaterally imposed contract terms. Experimenting is the all the rage among privatizers and union destroyers. That hadn’t happened in the previous four decades that districts had met with local teachers associations for collective bargaining but this year was to begin the big pusch.
That all this corresponds with school closures, privatization, charter schools, attacks on teachers, unions, zero tolerance programs, and testing students as if they were animal rats is not a coincidence. It is a well thought out business plan by the elites and it is sweeping the country like locusts.
This law allowing for the imposition of martial law and the dispensation of collective bargaining is a reflection of the larger politics of the country that is bent on assuring democracy is soemthing you read about in history books.
Idaho voters will decide in November whether to keep the new law or repeal it through a referendum.
Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com