Tennessee teachers fight bill to end collective bargaining

By Reuters
Monday, February 21, 2011 14:26 EDT
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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)

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  • ProgressiveInNewYork

    I would advise those in TN to check deeper. If the right follows their pattern from WI, buried within the bill might be more. Like selling off public utilities. If there is a ‘rush’ to pass a budget fix, check for deeper dirt. Watch out folks, they’re trying to screw us all.

  • http://www.BearRidgeTradingPost.com BigBearCO

    General Strike!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3NVQSZZC5IM66JEOCSFJUV7FCE Jacques G

    Time for special recall elections. Give this stuff a little time to fester and see how the public will start regretting what they did. Special recalls are in dire need. Time for a Re-revolution. The TEAdiots had their chance and showed their true colors, (turncoat yellow) against the Middle Class. Time to bring back the BLUE. A darker, freer blue not a washed out blue dog blue.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3WYAWTN4LJ2TAZGFCL3U4H6AWM TheGuru

    If people can’t figure out that this is a trend, then they are more gullible than anyone can possibly believe. It seems that screwing unions was the next thing on the agenda when the fat cats met in Palm Springs last month.

  • Anonymous

    No. Neither democrats or republicans are part of the solution. They have always been a part of the problem. We need a youth movement to take over, and these old, antiquated, greedy people need to become TRUE SERVANTS to them and the public.

    We will never overcome if we keep playing within the same system. Never.

  • Anonymous

    it won’t be long before this happens in every state. You will lose your right to negotiate for your working conditions. And it’s not just going to affect the workers, it’s going to affect everyone. If you lose your right to negotiate they can force you to pay 100% of your healthcare, they can cut your pay and they can do anything to you they want. And once a few of them start doing it they will all do it. And if you are a conservative, it’s not going to do you any good to walk up to the boss and say I voted for the GOP. He’s going to tell you to get back in line and shut up. If conservatives had a clue they would be fighting for the workers because those unions are the people who got everyone else healthcare pay raises and anything else you can think of

  • Anonymous

    Actually we need to go after the “Owners”of the political parties…the Koch Brothers, Phil Anshutz, Chamber of Commerce, Heritage Foundation, Wall Street, the ultra wealthy, the GOP/Corporate Tea Party organizers and donaters, the John Birch Society, the Pentagon’s “defense contractors” etc, the MONEY people, …run the “Owners” out from their cracks and crevices where they are hiding , turn the lights on them and squash them, spray then with insecticide before they scurry for cover, again..expose the “Owners” and take them down….in 1933 some very wealthy American Entrepreneurs formed the “American Fascist Society” and attempted an alleged coup against the U.S. Government…(FDR)…you can look it up and read about it…it appears they are back and at it again….in the form of David and Charles Koch, Phillip Anshutz, the Multi-National Corporations, Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street, etc…..but this time they have enlisted Government Washington D.C. “insiders” instead of a rogue retired Marine Corps Major General…Smedley Butler

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    I think they wanted repuggs in that red state,wouldn’t even vote for one of their own cause he was a dem.

  • Anonymous

    I hope republican teachers FINALLY realize they’ve been voting for people who want to kill them just to watch them die.

  • http://twitter.com/honorablelordk Karim Walker

    Tennessee is not the most labor-friendly state in the country, but this is vile, even by their knuckle-dragging standards.

  • Anonymous

    The thing to remember is that this is NOT just an attack on the Unions but an assault on all working people. This shit is beginning in the so called red states but you are defiantly on the mark with your assessment. The bastards are out to destroy the middle class in this country with “right to work laws” which will never benefit working people just the big money folks at the top.

  • Anonymous

    you speak like democrats are immune. this is why we disagree.

  • Anonymous

    My last boss was from Tennesee, extremely charming, mid 30′s, talked to her Daddy Every night.long distance from CA. She swore that she could NEVER EVER vote other than republican cause her Daddy would NEVER forgive her. THIS is what we’re dealing with folks.