Bill strips Tennessee teachers’ ability to negotiate contracts
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Democratic Party chair denounced Thursday the anti-teacher bill approved by House Republicans on the Education Committee this week.
The “so-called compromise” bill continues a misguided effort to strip teachers of their current right to negotiate classroom improvements for students, better working conditions and fair wages.
“To call this a compromise is nothing short of ridiculous,” said Chip Forrester, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party. “You don’t make compromises with yourself. This was a back room deal cut in secret between Republicans, Republicans and presumably their public relations people.”
The anti-teacher bill makes it illegal for teachers to effectively negotiate a contract covering their salary, benefits, working conditions, school safety, class size, planning time, time to teach, length of the school day, scheduling and other priorities. The measure passed the House Education Committee Tuesday on a 12-6 party-line vote.
“This is nothing more than a Republican PR stunt,” Forrester said. “It is not a compromise — it is a blatant power play to strip teachers of their right to effectively negotiate with their employer.”
“With state unemployment rising and Tennesseans clamoring for work, the majority party and the administration should be pursuing an aggressive jobs package, but once again, all we are seeing is a concerted effort to shred the rights of working people,” Forrester said. “Meanwhile Democrats are standing by their pledge to get people working again and will introduce proposals in the coming weeks that would bring more jobs to Tennessee and preserve quality jobs and rights for our teachers and all working families across the state.”