Tennessee proposal to curb teachers union advances

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2011 7:21 PM
Tennessee proposal to curb teachers union advances

NASHVILLE (Reuters) - A bill to limit Tennessee teacher's unions' abilities to negotiate for their members took a leap forward on Tuesday when it was approved by the state House Education Committee.

The Republican-backed bill, amended from a previous version that eliminated the ability of teachers' unions to engage in collective bargaining altogether, was sent by a 12-6 party-line vote to the Finance Committee.

Even though the amendment did not completely eliminate the right to collective bargaining, the measure still sparked a contentious one-and-a-half-hour debate in the Education Committee over just how much of a compromise the new version offered.

The bill as sent forward does allow teachers' associations to negotiate with local school boards on salaries, benefits and some other items.

But it limits the unions' abilities to negotiate on issues like merit pay and working conditions.

The House measure, pushed by Republican Governor Bill Haslam, runs counter to a bill that is advancing, without the compromises amendment, in the state Senate.

That bill completely ends teachers' rights to collective bargaining.

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni; Editing by Jerry Norton)