Cd'A board supports anti-union resolution - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Cd'A board supports anti-union resolution

Right to work prohibits union membership as a job requirement

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Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - School trustees in Coeur d'Alene on Monday voted unanimously to, as a board, support the Idaho School Boards Association's efforts to lobby state lawmakers for legislation that would tighten Idaho's right to work statute in the state's schools.

It was one of the last official acts of the board before June 30, when the terms of three trustees - Ann Seddon, Brent Regan and Jim Hightower - come to an end, and their seats are filled with three newly elected board members.

"I was the one that asked to have this included in the agenda," said Tom Hamilton, board chair.

Hamilton said that in order for the Idaho School Boards Association to bring suggested legislation forward in Boise, the organization needs a sponsoring school board.

"I think it's pretty self-explanatory," he said.

Right to work prohibits employers from requiring union membership as a requirement of employment.

Cindy Omlin, director of Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE), a non-union organization that collects dues in exchange for advocacy and liability insurance for educators observed the meeting, but did not address the board. The group does not get involved in collective bargaining.

There are teachers in the Coeur d'Alene School District that belong to NWPE, however, more than half of the certified staff are CEA members by choice.

Several members of the Coeur d'Alene Education Association, the local teachers union, spoke in opposition to the resolution.

"This resolution may serve a valuable purpose," said Derek Kohles, who will be taking over as CEA president in July.

Kohles told the board the resolution could help to remind employees that the CEA is the "best local option" for support and representation for educators. He said the CEA has a long history of representing and serving teachers in Coeur d'Alene, and said they've developed a "strong collaborative model."

He suggested that a better use of the board's time might be to work in partnership with the CEA to advocate for increased funding from the Legislature for Idaho's K-12 schools.

Kristi Milan, the current CEA president, pointed out that the resolution document states "schools should be free of bullying behaviors against both students and adults," and then in the next section, indicates school districts should "facilitate educators' access to information about professional educator association alternatives for providing liability insurance and legal services for employment rights issues."

"Liability insurance does not prevent bullying," she said.

Milan said the CEA has worked with many school boards over the past 40 years to develop the master contract between the teachers and the board.

"This contract provides anti-bullying for every certified personnel stated in the master contract," she said.

However, all certified employees are included in the CEA's representation, she said, even those who choose not to join the union.

"One might say they are getting something for nothing," Milan said. "That is the real story of being a right to work state."

Kohles questioned whether the board wants to be in the position of taking a political stand to accomplish something for the ISBA.

Brent Regan made the motion that they pass the resolution, and all five board members voted in favor of it.

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10 comments:

  • Cindy Omlin posted at 1:39 pm on Tue, Jun 4, 2013.

    Cindy Omlin Posts: 6

    Readers may be interested in reading the resolution passed by the school board. It is posted at http://nwpe.org/images/pdfs/resolution-right-to-know-equal-access.pdf.

     
  • greyhound2 posted at 1:39 pm on Tue, Jun 4, 2013.

    greyhound2 Posts: 896

    The school board is correct in its concern over public-employee unions. A Right-To-Work rule, however, does not apply. Public employee unions are a "monopoly" - while private unions always leave the final choice to the buyer. When a private employer's prices get out of hand, buyers can always buy from a competitor at a lower price. In a public employees union, if the strike is at the water department, the water is shut down for everybody with no alternative and you can die of thirst or pay the fee. Right to Work has always been disguised union busting and has worked fairly well for the capitalists in the private sector.

    The United States spends more money per head on primary public education than any country on the planet, yet ranks 23rd in math and science scores. Same as healthcare, the United States spends about 18% of Gross Domestic Product to rank 37th in quality, while the first place socialist country on quality spends only about 8% GDP. Throwing money at a problem only makes it more expensive.

     
  • justme posted at 1:21 pm on Tue, Jun 4, 2013.

    justme Posts: 119

    This is really a matter of free speech and equal access. Teachers have a right to hear about the various teacher organizations available to them. The IEA should not have a monopoly on school property funded by taxpayers. Public Unions their PACs are political in that they support candidates and issues. To say that the Board was political is quite hypocritical when the only thing that happened was allowing teacher organizations equal access. Let the free market work to the benefit of employees. If something is not a good product consumers will not buy it. If the Right to Work opponents win then public employees will be forced to join unions against their free will.

     
  • Cindy Omlin posted at 1:15 pm on Tue, Jun 4, 2013.

    Cindy Omlin Posts: 6

    This resolution was pro-teacher, not anti-union. The legislation it advocates for would advance teacher choice and help establish a work environment of mutual respect, collaboration, and effective leadership. As democratic environments, districts should promote informed decision making for teachers. Choosing an association should be a personal decision based on adequate information and an individual’s own values, beliefs, and budget. Northwest Professional Educators offers teachers a nonpartisan, nonunion association providing classroom resources, professional support such as liability insurance and legal services, grants, scholarships, and other benefits designed to advance academic professionals. www.nwpe.org

     
  • benfranklin posted at 10:24 am on Tue, Jun 4, 2013.

    benfranklin Posts: 50

    Apples and oranges, Bob. Unions in Idaho do not operate like unions in other places. If they had so much power, would they still be working for the chicken-scratch that they're paid? Somehow the leaders of our state have everyone convinced that $30-40k per year is a ton of money.

    Right-to-work makes union membership voluntary. This state has all the protection from unions it could ever need after this last session. Red herring, anyone? The issue with education is the lack of funding from the state, not "overpaid" teachers!

    Are their bad unions in this country? Absolutely. And bad corporations, politicians, priests, and everything else. But the bad unions that do the things that the neo-cons scream about aren't here in Idaho. It's time to stop painting with broad strokes and pay attention.

    Thank goodness the voters woke up and made a change. Doesn't the new law say that the union has to take the last best offer from the district?!? What power does that leave the union? What a sad, pathetic, and vengeful group of people this school board is. One last effort to ram their ideology down our throats.

    And no, I'm not a teacher. Just a dad who's been inside some classrooms, more than our current school board, I'd bet.

     
  • Sheeken Hunter posted at 8:58 am on Tue, Jun 4, 2013.

    Sheeken Hunter Posts: 183

    4.8% of Idaho's workforce are currently union members.
    Idaho is ranked 48th in per capita income.
    Idaho is ranked 47th (tied with Nevada) in education.
    We can do better folks!
    I can hear the chant now! We are Number 50!

     
  • Bob Loblaw posted at 8:55 am on Tue, Jun 4, 2013.

    Bob Loblaw Posts: 413

    As a taxpayer, and someone who has witnessed the total destruction of California schools by unions, I thank the board.

     
  • Thaddeus posted at 7:39 am on Tue, Jun 4, 2013.

    Thaddeus Posts: 232

    Yup, payback to the public that handed the losers their hats in the last election. And anyone who thought the losers were gonna be gracious are more ignorant than the current sitting board members.

     
  • mister d posted at 7:33 am on Tue, Jun 4, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    One last symbolic stab in the back by a group of exiting worthless board members who had a goal of disrupting a fine school district. The union serves a valuable purpose for kids in all districts. It was union push that set limits on student to teacher ratios that keep 45 kids out of classrooms with one teacher. There ar many more positives that resulted in a better education for kids.

     
  • voxpop posted at 5:27 am on Tue, Jun 4, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    I'm all for teachers, since I know one intimately, but I see nothing wrong with this sort of resolution. What's the big deal? Everyone tries to spend their money for the most value received. If the union can do that they will survive. If not, they won't. What they do need to do however is stop being the tail trying to wag the dog. They work for the school district, they don't run it. Offer your input and then toe the line. Just like the rest of us in our own job.

     
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