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2012 Issue: Collective Bargaining

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Collective Bargaining

Prior to the 2102 Legislative Session, several legislators had proposed various levels of restrictions on public employee collective bargaining. Despite several bill files opened on the topic, House Bill 106: Limitation on Collective Bargaining, sponsored by Rep. Keith Grover, was the only proposal to make it to bill form. However, this bill never advanced from the Rules Committee. Due to work done by the UEA Legislative Team before and during the session, this and other proposals to eliminate or restrict public employee collective bargaining never materialized in 2012.

In the handful of states that have attempted such restrictions, the result has been frustrated public employees, rallies, sit-ins, recall elections, lawsuits and rejection by voters. Even proponents are hard pressed to point to a single non-political positive result from those attempts

UEA’s Position:

  • The UEA will work to preserve collective bargaining opportunities for its local affiliates and maintain local contracts for teachers.
  • The attempt by some politicians to restrict public sector collective bargaining is all about politics.
  • There is no research or evidence to suggest the proposed restrictions on collective bargaining would have any positive impact on student success.
  • These efforts divert us from the important issues facing public education – need for adequate funding, class-size reduction, resources to provide a quality teacher and school for every child.
  • These changes would undermine collaboration and restrict the voice of educators. Under the proposed bill, teachers couldn’t negotiate on workplace issues, like safety for themselves and the children, or reforms that could improve student achievement. Teachers are the education experts. Local school boards and administrators should be collaborating more with teachers, not less.
  • This is an issue of local control. School boards currently have the option to determine which issues are appropriate for employee negotiations. Teachers need to have a voice in decisions made at the local level.
  • This appears to be an example of a bill in search of a problem. There is no problem in governments negotiating with their employees, who may belong to a union or association. Collective bargaining has worked well in the vast majority of school districts for nearly 50 years.
  • Utahns support allowing public employees to collectively bargain with their employers for salary (81%) and health care benefits (86%), but they even more strongly support negotiations on working conditions (92%) and job safety (97%). (Poll of 809 Utah households conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, Dec. 2011, ± 3.7% margin of error.)

Print the UEA Issue Brief on this topic (PDF)

Recent News

  • Proposal Would Limit Bargaining with Public School Employees 02/01/2012
    (Utah Policy Daily) On Tuesday, Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, an Alpine School District administrator, introduced HB106, a bill that would stop state and local governments, including school districts, from bargaining with public employees on any issue other than for wages and health care.
  • Utah lawmaker pulls back on collective bargaining changes 12/28/2011
    Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, Utah Education Association (UEA) president, said she’s pleased to hear that Stephenson may no longer be running the bills. “I’m really grateful,” she said. “I think that Senator Stephenson has recognized that teachers and public employees deserve to have a voice.”
  • Proposal would eliminate collective bargaining, career status 11/04/2011
    The proposed Public Education Employment Reform Act would eliminate traditional collective bargaining, the orderly termination statute, and “career” status for educators.
  • Proposals Target UEA/Public Schools 08/17/2011
    “Not since the voucher battle in 2007 has public education faced so many attacks. The actions being studied by the Education Interim Committee are part of a concerted national effort to privatize our public schools. Our teachers should be treated with dignity and respect, yet these proposals are clearly directed at silencing the voice of teachers and weakening their association.”