Budget problems in school districts and the state’s new collective-bargaining law, which limits the power of public employee unions, are driving the dramatic shift in the timing and terms of contracts, both school and union officials say.
Contracts reached by July 1 won’t be affected by the new collective-bargaining law, regardless of whether there is a referendum to repeal it [doesn’t pass, I think they mean], said Renee Fambro, deputy director of labor relations for the school boards association. Unions want to lock in deals before the law limits what they can negotiate, while districts may want financial stability or may use the threat of the law to gain concessions.
About 80 percent of the new deals freeze employees’ base pay for a year. More than half freeze the base pay for at least two years.
I have to question what the real acceptable pay level is for these positions if while the unions still have a bit of leverage they are settling for two year pay freezes. I also have to question what administrator is signing away their bargaining power given that the unions are so ‘desperate to sell’.