House backs representation bargaining bill

The House passed a bill Thursday that would require teachers unions to represent a majority of educators in their district.

Senate Bill 1149, which cleared the House along a party line vote 57-13, would require a teachers union to supply written proof to the district that it represents more than half of the educators – if the school board requests such proof.

The bill is one of a handful of labor and bargaining bills brought this year by the Idaho School Boards Association.

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Rep. Terry Gestrin, R-Donnelly

Rep. Terry Gestrin, R-Donnelly, said the bill is necessary to ensure that an education association represents a majority of the teachers when it sits down at the bargaining table.

Rep. Hy Kloc, D-Boise, opposed the bill after saying it is a direct reinstatement of some of the language from the repealed Proposition 1, which voters shot down in November.

In other action Thursday, the House passed a bill that would limit salary and negotiations portions of master agreements to one year. Senate Bill 1147, would also require that all other elements of master agreements – such as class sizes and calendars – be limited to two years.

The bill does not affect individual teachers’ contracts, only the master agreements that include everything that was negotiated.

Sponsoring Rep. Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree, said the bill is necessary because it is often difficult to remove elements from master agreements once they are in there – even if budgets or enrollment have changed.

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Rep. Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree

That bill passed on a 56-13 vote.

Both bills previously passed the Senate, and now head to Gov. Butch Otter’s desk.

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