The Tennessee Teachers Association may lose their right to collective bargaining under legislation just introduced in the state legislature, legislation drafted by those who normally are on the other side of the bargaining table from the teachers union - the state's school board association.
Union reps warn that the proposal is a step backward -
"We had more than 100 years in Tennessee without collective bargaining to see how that works," said Al Mance, executive director for the Tennessee Education Association, which represents some 52,000 teachers and administrators in the state.
"Ninety percent of teachers in Tennessee are covered by collective bargaining," Mance added. "Without it, we'll go back to the previous way of doing business, when male teachers were paid more than female teachers; when African-Americans were paid less than Caucasians; when there was no voice for the teachers in the process."
Today, Governor Haslam met with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission today, and said he does not think the new Republican-led legislature is "anti-teacher", but the does think the state is ripe for education reforms, adding:
"The newly elected governor did say he opposed collective bargaining for police and firefighters during his tenure as mayor of Knoxville.
“You realize, Tennessee is hot right now,” he said. “You realize, Tennessee is the place people are talking about when it comes to innovations in higher education.”
If you also consider proposed legislation to make it a crime for any union group in the state to contribute to a political campaign, it could be said the state is looking for ways to decrease employee-organized groups from having a voice in the state. Or, as No Silence Here puts it - "Some Lawmakers Stomping On Free Speech".