LSBA continues opposition to collective bargaining

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2005

BATON ROUGE – Following is a statement from John Beck, 2005 president of the Louisiana School Boards Association (LSBA) and school board president in Assumption Parish, and W.F. “Freddie” Whitford, LSBA executive director, regarding state-mandated collective bargaining by teachers and school employees:

“The Louisiana School Boards Association (LSBA) has maintained a long-standing opposition to state-mandated collective bargaining by teachers and school employees. We renew this opposition, in cooperation with the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents (LASS), after conferring with the executive director of LASS.

The people of Louisiana elect local school boards in 68 public school systems. These school boards are charged constitutionally with the responsibility for the efficient operation of public schools in their district. School boards are accountable to the schoolchildren, their parents, and the citizens and businesses in each of their school districts.

State-mandated collective bargaining by teachers and other school employees usurps the power and authority granted to these locally elected school boards.

A state-mandated collective bargaining agreement gives disproportionate power to one group – a teacher and employee union – at the expense of all other groups in the community who have a stake in public education. Further, this disproportionate power will adversely affect classroom and school assignments for teachers, mandated duty assignments and the performance and support of school activities.

(See Unions, Page 7A)

(From Page 6A)

State-mandated collective bargaining is not necessary or desirable in public school systems. The rights and benefits for workers that unions work to secure in the private sector have already been provided for teachers and other school employees. These rights and benefits include sick leave, sabbatical leave, personal leave, tenure, retirement benefits and guarantees against salary reductions.

For one group of citizens to band together as a union or as any other group to pressure and influence action by locally elected school boards through the threat of work stoppages, intimidation and strikes, clearly gives an unfair advantage to teachers and other school employees over other citizens, who voted to elect their local school board to manage the efficient operation of the district without the threats that exist with a statewide teacher and school employee union.

School boards are charged with responding to and protecting the interests of schoolchildren in the public schools of their district. The creation of a state-mandated collective bargaining directive unfairly and unconstitutionally places power in the hands of one group, removing the intent and purpose of a locally elected school board.

For these reasons, the LSBA will continue to oppose state-mandated collective bargaining by teachers and school employees.”