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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Wisconsin teachers seek quick action in face of new restrictions



Facing severe reductions in their collective bargaining power, Wisconsin teachers are urging their unions to quickly seal new two-year contracts with their school districts before the legislation takes effect. Several unions have made very similar proposals to their boards, suggesting a coordinated effort, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. 

This action can't help but raise the question of whether Florida school teachers, many of whom have yet to complete contracts for this year, will look to do the same thing before lawmakers can adopt several new contract and negotiating rules. While collective bargaining isn't totally at risk in Florida, many components of it are, along with current standards relating to teacher seniority, pay scales and contract terms.

So far, the effective date for most of the bills coursing through the Florida Legislature is July 1. Teachers can't shout "ouch" before they are hurt, so lawsuits aren't necessarily imminent. But if school boards seek to impose some of the ideas over existing contractual terms, expect union leaders to challenge them in court.

"I will go down fighting and screaming to defend the language that we have spent 30 years creating," United School Employees of Pasco president Lynne Webb said. "It will not go down just by legislative fiat. Not on my watch."

Stay tuned to see how far the standoff goes in local districts.

[Last modified: Friday, March 11, 2011 8:48am]


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