There is an all out assault on the collective bargaining rights of education employees, but think about this situation. If it can happen in Wisconsin, it can happen in Iowa. In fact, legislation has already been introduced that would drastically change our bargaining rights and require public employees to contribute no less than 30% toward health care costs. This is all in addition to the proposals to gut pre-school and provide zero percent allowable growth.
Yesterday 30,000 people protested at the Capitol in Madison. Check it out at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41644074/ns/us_news-life/
Ladies and gentlemen, it will serve us well if we pay attention to this assault on collective bargaining rights. Similar legislation has been introduced in Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee that will drastically alter teachers and public employees rights to bargain collectively.
Tonight’s Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC at 9 p.m. will originate from Madison. His entire show last night was devoted to the issues in Wisconsin and the action being taken by your colleagues there. Many public schools are closed because of the number of teachers who have called in sick to demonstrate at the state capitol in an attempt to stop the legislation proposed by their new governor. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel will be on the Andrea Mitchell Show 2/17 on MSNBC at 1:30 to also talk about the situation. Most of you will be in class at that time, but I’m sure it will be available for viewing on the internet later.
Our collective bargaining bill has been in force since 1975 and is now taken for granted. It will serve us all well to pay attention to what is going on in Wisconsin (in fact Wisconsin was the first state to pass a law to allow collective bargaining for public employees). If legislation gutting collective bargaining rights of teachers in Wisconsin passes, be assured that similar legislation will be introduced and passed all around the country.
Once again, collective bargaining allows us to bargain about salaries, insurance, leaves, transfer and recall rights, staff reduction procedures, vacations, holidays, and other terms of employment in Iowa. Be aware of what’s happening. If this crops up in Iowa, we will support and action. For now, pay attention to the news. We hope it’s not a glimpse into our future, but a wake up call to define the next election.
Written by Coy Marquardt, ECUU Director, edited by Nancy Porter