ISBA releases negotiations survey

This year at least 41 Idaho school districts took advantage of a new law requiring local unions to prove they represent a majority of teachers.

During last week’s K-12 interim committee meeting, the Idaho School Boards Association released what is so far the most revealing picture of this year’s negotiations process.

ISBA leaders were able to survey 96 of the state’s 115 school districts – covering ground that included union representation, the duration of negotiations and whether outside negotiators were hired by either side during the bargaining process.

A total of 79 school districts responded to the majority representation question, while 17 districts skipped it. All told, officials from 41 districts said they required local unions to show proof of majority representation, while 38 districts did not.

The majority representation requirement stems from Senate Bill 1149, one of a series of labor and bargaining laws the Legislature enacted this year.  If asked, teachers’ union officials are required to “provide to the district written evidence establishing that the local education organization represents 50 percent plus one of the professional employees for negotiations.”

The ISBA survey found that only two local unions were unable to prove that they spoke for the majority of teachers. However, only 59 districts replied to this question, down from the 79 that said whether they sought proof of majority representation.

Officials from 51 school districts shared information about what percentage of educators the local teachers’ union represented. Answers ranged all the way up to 100 percent, but the most common replies were 50 to 55 percent (10 districts), 66 to 70 percent (eight districts) and 61 to 65 percent (six districts).

Some labor bills enacted this year have a one-year “sunset clause,” which means the 2014 Legislature will have to review them. Senate Bill 1149 has no sunset clause, so it is a permanent law.

Here;s a link to the ISBA’s entire 40-question survey.

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