Union furious with school board for publicizing details of negotiations

Apr 10, 2013 by

SPRINGBORO, Ohio – Springboro, Ohio school board members have crossed the line with their “blatant and outrageous” behavior, according to the local teachers union.

Their offense? Explaining to the public the status of union contract negotiations and offering details about the competing proposals, the Springboro Sun reports.

“To ensure that the full context of the documents is available to the public, both offers now are posted on the district website at http://www.springboro.org/,” according to a district news release. “From the homepage, visitors can click to access the text of the district proposal as well as the full text of the (Springboro Education Association) proposal … The district has no position on the proposals at this time as the fiscal and operational impacts are being evaluated.

“The district will continue to communicate as much as possible with the Springboro community so that all stakeholders can be informed about the status and progress of these negotiations.”

Blasphemy! What kind of a public institution goes out of its way to inform citizens how its financial decisions will impact them? How dare public officials explain to the public how they’re conducting the public’s business.

That was the union’s reaction when it filed an unfair labor complaint with the State Employee Relations Board over the school district’s effort at increased transparency.

“This blatant and outrageous disregard of the obligations of the Springboro Community City Schools Board of Education to conduct bargaining in accordance with (the Ohio Revised Code) requires an expedited investigation and … the Springboro Education Association is requesting that SERB petition the court of common pleas for appropriate injunctive relief pending the final decision of the unfair labor practice charged filed,” union attorney John Doll wrote in a letter to SERB, the Sun reports.

School officials contend that their obligation is to taxpayers and parents, not the union, and “Springboro’s board members believe they have a responsibility to bring as much transparency to the process as possible,” according to a district press release.

“The simple disclosure of objectives to the community was meant to assure all parties – parents, staff and taxpayers – that the board is acting to open and conduct negotiations in a responsible manner. The board does not believe it harmed the negotiation process in any way.”

That likely depends on which side of the collective bargaining table you’re on.

Teachers unions have traditionally used the closed contract negotiation process to manipulate public opinion in their favor while privately demanding expensive perks that are unheard of in the private sector.

Allowing the light to shine in on negotiations will not only give the public a true picture of what the real contract issues are, it will prevent the union from manipulating its members and the public. Union officials will be forced to explain their self-serving position, and that’s bad for union business.

Springboro board members explained in a statement that the current round of negotiations are particularly important and will have a significant impact on the district’s budget. The district is also hoping to renew a $9.2 million school levy, so the public’s knowledge of school operations and finances is critical.

In other words, the union’s objections to the increased transparency are silly and self-serving.

Union furious with school board for publicizing details of negotiations – EAGnews.org :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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