Collective Bargaining Bill ‘a Display of Raw, Naked Power’ By GOP?

Four of the five House Republicans who voted against this year’s bill to end teacher collective bargaining — along with independent former Republican Kent Williams — were from Northeast Tennessee.
So is Robert Houk, who devotes his Sunday column to the subject. He covers both those who voted against the prevailing Republican wind and those who went with it. Seems Houk’s sympathies lie with the former.
Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, voted with the majority, telling his colleagues he considered himself to be a “statesman,” not a politician. Curiously, Hill showed himself to be neither a statesman nor a smart politician in voting to water down collective bargaining. Instead, he proved himself to be — above all ­– a partisan.
The same was true for Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, who despite expressing much angst over the plight of teachers, voted at crunch time to substantially weaken their collective voices at contact time.
In truth, no one really knows what the so-called collective conferencing act will mean to education in Tennessee. One TEA official told me last week it would take time to dissect the legislation, which she described as “vague” and “confusing.” The bill allows other organizations to take a seat at the bargaining table. (Just who these other organizations might be is not specified in the bill, nor does the legislation clearly spell out what can no longer be written into final agreements.)
The legislation does, however, change the rules that have guided contract negotiations between teachers and school boards since 1978. Williams said one of the reasons he voted against the legislation was that no one could explain to him why it is needed. “I asked how ending collective bargaining would help education, and nobody could answer my question,” Williams said.
What it will do, Williams said last week, is further demoralize teachers. Ford agreed. “That’s why I got up on the floor (of the House) and spoke against the bill,” Ford said. “It’s hard for me to look a teacher in the eye knowing they haven’t gotten a raise in three years.”
The attack on collective bargaining has nothing to do with bettering education in Tennessee. It’s simply a display of raw, naked power on the part of GOP leaders who are ticked off at the TEA.

4 thoughts on “Collective Bargaining Bill ‘a Display of Raw, Naked Power’ By GOP?

  1. SmithCo Conservative

    Maybe someone should what the TEA does for education? NOTHING! The TEA is about teacher’s salary and benefits and does nothing for students or taxpayers. I support the right to unionize in private industry but not in the government domain. They breed mediocrity. I’ve worked in a union shop and the union mentality does NOTHING to improve conditions.

  2. Wintermute

    So Houk is not a reporter.
    It wsa raw, naked power by the Democrats that passed the former status quo. Republicans are just undoing that evil deed in hard times.
    An organization that needs to be at the table is taxpayers, including in rough proportion people who do not have children in public school.
    Teachers make a living wage; and not having a raise in three whole years, with the low inflation we’ve had, is an insult to the taxpayers to gripe about, in an economy like this where they’re lucky to have a job.

  3. Libbie

    In this economy, kids are lucky to go to school. Who needs qualified, capable teachers? /sarcasm tag
    Thanks, Tom, for bringing this to our attention. Being a cynic, I have to wonder if they were the token reps given permission to vote against the bill to look good, since they knew it was going to pass. Probably not, just shows I have lost faith in the system.

  4. kristina

    Teachers still have the right to bargain for salary, benefits, and working conditions…that’s what they wanted to begin with……This legislation is pointless political propoganda.

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