In my hometown, North Andover, there is an interesting warrant article to petition the General Court to make any collective bargaining agreement entered into between the School Committee and the teacher’s union subject to a vote at town meeting.
I first read it that all CBA’s had to be approved by Town meeting, but then they added in an explanation from the Finance Committee that clarified that it only applied to the School Department.
Here is a link – to PDF – language is on page 72.
- Does this happen in other towns?
- Can it be legal to have only one bargaining unit’s contracts come to Town Meeting?
I’m outraged. Full disclosure; I used to teach fulltime – now in industry. There is a real split in town gov about education – the school committee is committed to working hard to make the schools good, but the Finance Committee and the Selectmen are trying to reduce the portion of the town budget that goes to the schools. Most recently, the teachers had their HC percentage go from 10% to 25% of premiums, and then got a 9% raise over 5 years (with two years at 0). [Yes, I know about steps and columns.] But, generally speaking, the town does not have high salaries or high per student costs. We ranked 271st/329 in the most recent survey. The town is in a tough spot b/c we are mostly a bedroom community with a limited tax base.
This strikes me as completely unfair – I still wouldn’t like any collective bargaining to be subject to Town Meeting, but signalling out the teachers is reprehensible. People have campaigned for School Committee attacking contracts and lost. The selectmen have a vote on the contract and in fact they pulled their member off because he thought the contract was good and they didn’t like it – he was replaced by the Town Manager.
What are your thoughts?