The group that represents Idaho’s School boards has introduced four bills to the legislature on teacher labor relations. Two of them may sound familiar. They are provisions that were in the Students Come First law that voters rejected last November when they said no to ballot proposition 1.
The bill would require local teachers’ unions to prove each year they represent more than 50 percent of a district’s teachers in order to have collective bargaining. Another limits labor agreement’s to one year.
Karen Echeverria with the Idaho School Boards Association says her members voted to bring these provisions back. But she says these were not the things teachers disliked most about the now repealed law. She says teachers objected to getting rid of continuing contracts and restricting negotiations to salary and benefits.
“And we heard those complaints, we understand,” she says. “And the members of my association will not be pursuing legislation on those two topics. We’ll negotiate anything you want, and we’ll leave your continued contracts or renewed contract status alone.”
We have not yet reached the Idaho Education Association for comment on this new attempt to restrict its bargaining power. House and Senate education chairs plan to meet with representatives from the statewide teachers’ union later this week before these bills get a public hearing.
The School Boards Association plans to introduce three more labor measures Tuesday. Echeverria won’t say what those contained. But association members have also endorsed reviving other parts of the repealed law. Those include a requirement to hold negotiations in public. Another says districts and teachers’ unions must reach labor agreements by a certain date or the district sets the terms.