Jeffco Union Should Honor Its Own Calls for Transparency

Jeffco Union Should Honor Its Own Calls for Transparency

The Jefferson County Education Association came to Monday’s contract negotiations with a plan to walk out, and they seized the moment. With discussions over compensation scarcely begun, JCEA negotiators stepped away from the bargaining table—and from transparency. This road has been traveled before. JCEA and other affiliates of Colorado’s largest teachers union have declared impasse more than once in recent years. …Read the rest of my article at Complete Colorado Page Two…. … [Read more...]

Long-Term Union Membership Trends: Give Colo. Teachers Greater Choice

Last week the U.S. Department of Labor released new numbers showing that nationally union membership is on the decline. And not only in the private sector, which has been on a decades-long downward trajectory. Three years ago the nation crossed a historic threshold, as union members in private industry were outnumbered by their public sector counterparts for the first time ever. The 2012 decline also hit government, where budgetary and labor reforms in places like Wisconsin and Tennessee have taken hold. The inimitable Mike Antonucci, writing at the Education Intelligence Agency, picked apart the numbers to unravel 10 interesting observations, including this pair of gems:9) If the trends recorded since 2000 continue, by 2051 there will … [Read more...]

Bargaining Bill Would Force CEA to Confront Local Control Hobgoblin

The 19th century American individualist Ralph Waldo Emerson once famously declared, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." This coming legislative session might just give teachers union leaders a chance to confront their own hobgoblin -- choosing whether to embrace it or banish it far away. Rumors persist that the American Federation of Teachers wants to inflict legislative revenge on the bold Douglas County school board. In exchange for having their monopoly bargaining status and political dues collection revoked, they apparently are tempted to advance a bill that would impose some sort of bargaining requirement on local school boards. To succumb to the temptation would place their Colorado Education Association (CEA) … [Read more...]

Going Further than Right-to-Work to Relieve Labor Leaders’ Burdens

Earlier this week I told you that it looked like Right-to-Work legislation was coming to the Big Labor stronghold of Michigan. And has it ever come quickly! Some of Wisconsin's early 2011 scenes played out yesterday at the State Capitol, as protestors thronged and chanted favorites like, "A people united will never be defeated!" and "Hey hey, ho ho, Right-to-Work has got to go!" News outlets report that Michigan State Police arrested eight people trying to break into legislative chambers as the state senate gave preliminary approval to send the workplace freedom measure on to supportive Governor Rick Snyder. (When similar legislation is introduced here in Colorado in 2013, the reaction almost certainly will be much more quiet... and … [Read more...]

Bucking Colorado’s Example, Could Michigan Soon Adopt Right-to-Work?

When it comes to freedom of association, Colorado workers soon may have good reason to envy their Michigan counterparts. The Washington Times recently reported some developing momentum for a Right-to-Work law in the Great Lakes State:The possible push in the state Legislature’s lame-duck session has already sparked a battle, as a coalition of about 300 AFL-CIO members as well as a contingent from the state police descended on the Statehouse in Lansing on Thursday to lobby lawmakers against a measure they fear could dramatically limit their influence. Big Labor is trying to nip the effort to empower non-union workers in the bud, organizing vocal pressure before a bill even has been introduced. Before the recent elections, there was no … [Read more...]

Dougco 2013 Showdown Could Lead to Wisconsin-Like Vindication, Or….

For the past couple years, Wisconsin has been the locus of the political battle to weaken public-sector union power. After Gov. Scott Walker not only survived but thrived amid a failed recall election, conservatives breathed a sigh of relief. Most prominently, the costly but decisive victory revived hopes that fiscal sanity and a sense of fairness could be restored. Modest cuts to lavish benefits for government employees, along with some of the accompanying tools approved in Walker's controversial Budget Repair Bill, put the Badger State back on a healthy fiscal setting and brought compensation more back in line with private sector workers. But a new video from the Association of American Educators reminds us that the Wisconsin … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Improvement to Teachers Union’s “Every Member Option” Annual Political Refund: Ask Members First

It's funny how so many of those Colorado teachers union deadlines fall at inconvenient times. Want to sign up for one of the Colorado education Association's local affiliates? You can do it any time. Want to opt out of union membership, perhaps to choose a different membership option? Well, finding the exact dates you can opt out depends on which school district you work in. For so many, though, it comes at the beginning of the school year as classrooms are being decorated, lesson plans developed, routines established, and so much more. But September 15 passes before you can get down to the local union office -- say, in Jeffco, Commerce City, Englewood, Longmont, or Canon City -- and you have to wait another 350 days to stop the … [Read more...]

Road to the Colorado Statehouse: Dem Allport Will Have to Pick Up Pace to Challenge Libby Szabo in HD 27

I'm back. This time I mean it. With Colorado's legislative session in gear and both chambers of the General Assembly up for grabs in this fall's election, there is no time to dive into the fray like the present. While Mount Virtus may never be as prolific a place as it's ever been. You can follow some of my other writings as follows: Education Policy Center (including the blog Ed Is Watching) for coverage of the world of education policy, school choice and reform issues Also occasionally on the Ed News Colorado blog Writings on teachers unions and related government labor issues at Public Sector Inc A new less-than-regular column on education labor and related issues at Colorado Peak Politics Nevertheless, this year you can count … [Read more...]

Colorado Teachers Union Political Refund Opportunity Ends December 15

Last week I filmed a 14-minute segment with my boss at the Independence Institute, Jon Caldara, on his show Devil's Advocate. The topic for discussion was the timely news that members of the Colorado Education Association (CEA) have until tomorrow (December 15) to get back money automatically collected with their dues to support (almost completely one-sided) state and local political campaigns. As I often say, if you like how the union spends your money on politics, you have no reason to complain and absolutely nothing to do. But for those teachers who would rather support their own political causes, or use the money to pay for Christmas shopping or just save for a rainy day, then members need to be informed of their opportunity. One … [Read more...]

Louisiana Seeks to Beat Colorado to Open Teacher Union Negotiations

A lot has happened in the month since I last posted here about the open negotiations controversy in Jeffco Public Schools. I was glad to see Mike Rosen bring attention to the issue on his show and in his May 12 Denver Post column, in which he concluded:A number of other states have laws mandating that negotiations between government-employee unions and government agencies be open to the public. In Colorado, that decision is currently left to local government. Colorado law is generally friendly to public openness and disclosure regarding government meetings and documents. Since a majority of funding for public-school districts in Colorado comes not from local property taxes but from the state's coffers, the state legislature clearly has … [Read more...]