March
3rd 2011
Colo. Springs Teachers Union Doesn’t Want to Open Negotiations: I Wonder Why?

Posted under Education Politics & Independence Institute & PPC & School Board & Teachers

Last week I told you that the Colorado Springs District 11 school board had voted to open union contract negotiations up for public observation. Today, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that the CSEA (the local teachers union) has blackballed the idea:

The board of the Colorado Springs Education Association voted unanimously to turn down a request by the D-11 school board to hold the meetings in public.

In a letter to the D-11 board Wednesday, CSEA President Kevin Marshall said Tuesday’s vote was to “protect the integrity of the collective bargaining agreement between teachers and safeguard the future of children by keeping the negotiations private.”

“Safeguard the future of children”… from whom: Parents? Taxpayers? Journalists? “Protect the integrity of the collective bargaining agreement”… so that’s the priority? Let’s not be surprised here. Besides the obvious seniority-based salary and benefits, what kind of items in the CSEA-D11 master agreement (PDF) might they be trying to protect? Here’s a list of examples all found in Article III under “Association Rights”:

  • “The District agrees to deduct from the salaries of teachers who are not members of the Association an amount equal to the annual Association dues which are voluntarily authorized by such teachers. Voluntary authorization on the part of such teachers shall be deemed to have occurred unless proper written notice to the contrary is provided to the District and the Association on a jointly approved form.” (III-D-1) Yep, it says non-union members have to opt out of paying the full union dues each year by September 10.
  • The building union rep is guaranteed “the use of the school’s communication system to make announcements at appropriate times” (III-F-2-c)
  • “The Association shall have the right to place materials related to Association business on bulletin boards and in teachers’ mailboxes” (III-H-3), but don’t try to distribute flyers announcing a professional development opportunity co-sponsored by a non-union teachers group.
  • The CSEA president “has the right to assign an Association member to the initial interviewing committee considering applicants for District positions” and to “appoint members to other District committees as desired” (III-G) At least the union president no longer has the power to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars from a professional development fund.
  • “The Association President and the UniServ Director shall have access to any school, provided that they shall notify the principal’s office upon their entrance to any school. If an emergency necessitates the interruption of class schedules, prior arrangements shall be made with the principal.” (III-E-3)
  • “The Association President shall be furnished with copies of all publications, directives or memoranda containing official District interpretations of this Agreement.” (III-B-1)… The privilege apparently only goes one way, as there is no provision for sharing the union’s documents with the Board.

Don’t forget to check out this brief 2010 backgrounder from my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow explaining some of the merits of the open negotiations policy. Meanwhile, the group Americans for Prosperity-Colorado has created the website “Make District 11 Transparent” to collect petition signatures in support of the local school board’s taxpayer-friendly cause.

5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Colo. Springs Teachers Union Doesn’t Want to Open Negotiations: I Wonder Why?”

  1. Ed is Watching » Have Colo. Springs Union Leaders Given Up Safeguarding “the Future of Children”? on 14 Apr 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    [...] about six weeks ago when I told you that the Colorado Springs Education Association (CSEA) was blackballing the District 11 Board of [...]

  2. Ed is Watching » Open Union Negotiations Gets Favorable Attention from Mike Rosen on 12 May 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    [...] one session to public observation — though the observed session didn’t cover any of the Colorado Springs Education Association’s sweet perks. Yet as a result of public pressure in these two large Colorado school districts, the issue has a [...]

  3. Ed is Watching » D-11 Makes Open Negotiations Progress; Jeffco Board President Defends Secrecy on 19 May 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    [...] a healthy step forward to be sure. Just a couple questions, though. First, were any changes made to the union perks in Article III of the master agreement? In either case, will the public be able to observe this [...]

  4. Peoples Press Collective | Colorado Politics | D-11 Makes Open Negotiations Progress; Jeffco Board President Defends Secrecy : on 19 May 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    [...] a healthy step forward to be sure. Just a couple questions, though. First, were any changes made to the union perks in Article III of the master agreement? In either case, will the public be able to observe this [...]

  5. mel anderson on 09 Mar 2013 at 11:08 am #

    The teacher union regularly spends big bucks to elect the school board members of their choice. Thus the union sits on both sides of the negotiating table. They run the district with taxpayer money–a real conflict of interest. Let’s see how they line up on this recall.

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