Tennessee teachers fight bill to end collective bargaining

NASHVILLE, Tennessee Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:35pm EST

Related Topics

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - A Tennessee teachers group is calling a Republican-backed state bill that would end collective bargaining an "attack" on teachers' rights.

"We don't view this as education reform. It's an attack on the rights of teachers to have a voice regarding their working conditions, which are also the learning conditions of students," said Alexei Smirnov, spokesman for the 52,000-member Tennessee Education Association, which represents 92 state school districts.

The Republican-dominated Tennessee Senate Education Committee voted last week to deny Tennessee teachers the right to negotiate their working conditions with boards of education across the state through collective bargaining.

Republicans hold the majorities in both the Senate and House. The Tennessee School Boards Association also endorses the bill.

The Tennessee bill echoes proposals to curb public worker collective bargaining rights in other states, including Wisconsin, whose state capital has been the scene of massive worker protests over the past week.

U.S. state and local governments are struggling to balance budgets after the recession decimated their finances.

Tennessee's anti-union proposal was not a part of first-term Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's package of legislative proposals he announced on Thursday. His education proposals include extending the number of years a teacher must serve before gaining tenure and removing the limit on the number of charter schools across the state.

(Writing by Tim Ghianni; editing by Mary Wisniewski and Tim Gaynor)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (9)
vasinvictor wrote:
This is what the people voted for. Republicans are out for big business not the working average man or woman. This is what people deserve for cutting off their nose to spite their face. This is just the beginning of worse to come. These issues could be solved by bringing the troops home,legalize soft drugs and taxing them,releasing non-violent criminals who are crowding the prisons on minor drug cases, making banks state owned and non-for profit. Where half of dividends are paid back to the state. North Dakota has proved this works with the banks. http://motherjones.com/mojo/2009/03/how-nation%E2%80%99s-only-state-owned-bank-became-envy-wall-street

Feb 21, 2011 1:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
adl1652 wrote:
One more state doing the wrong thing to fix this problem.

Feb 21, 2011 1:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
aero405 wrote:
What a relief to hear that laws are finally passing to stop the exploitation of taxpayers by public unions. Of course, they’ve been at it for far longer than this recession, as this article thoroughly and shockingly describes:


The protests in Wisconsin and elsewhere are simply the latest chapter in the public unions’ relentless decades-long power grab, and their history tells us exactly why legislation like this MUST succeed in fundamentally limiting their power; if Scott Walker et al. let them off the hook with a simple cut to benefits they’ll be right back at the “bargaining” table lobbying for more and manipulating politics to get it.

Feb 21, 2011 1:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.