How to close open bargaining sessions

Aug 4, 2013 by

By Mike Antonucci –

LAS VEGAS – I’ve always thought it was a good idea to have public sector collective bargaining open to the public. I know. What a novel idea.

But, as with most things in public education, it’s not enough to institute a particular reform. You have to ensure that the spirit is enforced as well as the letter.

You should read the entire account of Las Vegas City Life columnist Chip Mosher’s efforts to attend an open bargaining session, but this short excerpt should give you an idea:

The first two times I went to these meetings, however, the union barred me from entering. This was surprising because it had advertised that “all” teachers were invited. Furthermore, on its website the union had “encouraged” its members to attend. Being a teacher and union member myself, I thought this might include, well, me, too.

But according to one union insider, the “Mosher issue” had become problematic for several confused union leaders. So they came up with a plan: To have nonparticipating observers sign a kind of loyalty oath to the secrecy of the negotiations — which they, just last year, had decided to “open up.”

Thus, this past week, as I was trying a third time to enter another of these meetings, a female union member handed me a sheet to sign. The document said things such as, “I am a teacher employed by the CCSD,” “I will not disclose to the media the subject matter of negotiations,” and so forth.

If “members are encouraged to attend and observe the process,” why are they then being gagged? And what does the Clark County Education Association plan to do to a member who signs their gag order, then talks anyway? Prosecute? Kick them and their dues money out of the union?

Apparently what happens in a Vegas teacher contract negotiation, stays there.

via How to close open bargaining sessions – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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