Voters in Ohio will be deciding soon if a new law that limits collective bargaining should remain in place.
The law affects teachers’ unions, as well as others, in how they can fight for contracts.
To read the Education Week story about the situation, click here. An excerpt is below.
The Ohio law, originally known as Senate Bill 5, was strongly backed by Republican state lawmakers and Gov. Kasich, who signed it in March, but it was opposed by Democrats. Supporters argued that previous Ohio laws gave unions far too much power in contract negotiations, compelling public employers, including school districts, to make concessions that cost taxpayers too much money—and, in the case of schools, that undermine school improvement.
Senate Bill 5 imposes broad restrictions on public workers’ bargaining powers. In school districts, it forbids bargaining over class sizes, school assignments, and provisions that restrict principals from assigning workloads and job responsibilities. The law also gives school boards broad powers to put in place their final offer in negotiations with unions if the two sides cannot reach agreement, according to both teachers’ union and school board representatives.
In addition, the measure also forbids districts from giving preference in layoff decisions to teachers with more seniority—a provision similar to those adopted in a number of other states, such as Florida and Idaho. The law requires that teachers be paid on the basis of performance, rather than under a traditional set salary schedule, though it leaves unclear how performance would be judged. The bill also mandates minimum health-care and pension contributions for school employees.
What do you think? Should teachers be limited in what they can argue for in contracts? Should layoffs be decided by seniority or ability?