-By Warner Todd Huston
Now this is more like it. Back in October of 2010 the Summer County, Tennessee School Board decertified the Sumner County Education Association (SCEA), the union for county teachers, because it no longer satisfied the law by counting as members fifty percent plus one of the total number of employees requiring a teaching certificate. This, school board officials said, means that the SCEA can no longer engage in collective bargaining for teachers.
The school board has used this opportunity to immediately begin rewriting the relationship between teachers and schools.
Naturally, the union is running straight to what is usually the last bastion of mindless obeisance to union obstructionism, the courts, and is suing to force the school board to accede to union demands regardless of the law. For its part, the union says that just over fifty-two percent of the county schools employees are union members and so they are still in charge. The school board points out, though, that this percentage actually does not satisfy the law because the requirements are that fifty percent plus one of the actual teachers — those employees requiring a teachers certificate to work — need to be in the union, not over fifty percent of all school employees — which includes janitors, administrators and other non-teacher employees.
But the union doesn’t care about the law. SCEA representatives want the courts to force the school board to deal with them anyway. As State Senator Stacy Campfield says, “I fail to see why anyone has the guaranteed right to force an employer to negotiate with a union if they don’t want to. Where else besides government does that happen in the real world?”
The case will be heard in the courts in the middle of this month, February. But in the meantime, the school board has quickly moved forward to change insurance benefits to require teachers to pay twenty percent of their healthcare insurance instead of the fifteen percent negotiated by the union.
It is good to see government bodies making efforts to eliminate public employee unions. These anti-democratic, budget-killing entities should never have been allowed to exist in the first place. Public employee unions are antithetical to good government certainly.
But there might be even better news in Tennessee on this subject. Tennessee State Representative Debra Young Maggart has introduced a bill that would make it illegal for any school board to have to negotiate with a teachers union at all HB 0130 would eliminate collective bargaining for teachers in the state.
Of course unionists are going crazy over this one claiming that the rep hates teachers and kids! But Maggart insists it isn’t an anti-teacher bill.
“This is not an anti-teacher bill,” Maggart said. “It is an anti-collective bargaining bill. And I think that this bill serves the best interest for our teachers, our students and our school systems across the state.”
Let’s hope this bill passes. If you are in Tennessee you should urge your reps to support it. And if it does pass it should serve as a model for other states to emulate. It will be a giant step toward taking back control of our schools as well as a strike for fiscal responsibility.