AFT-Maryland Opposes Amendments to Collective Bargaining Agreements

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Testimony

 

of

 

Ms. MArietta English



PRESIDENT

BALTIMORE TEACHERS UNION

 

BEFORE THE

hOUSE WAYS
AND mEANS COMMITTEE

 

On

 

House Bill 792-Baltimore city public school system—charter Management Organizations—Amendments to Collective Bargaining Agreements

 

MARCH 16, 2011

 

Oppose

 

 

Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to address you today. I am Marietta English, the President of the American Federation of Teachers—Maryland, and the President of the Baltimore Teachers Union. We represent more than 20,000 state and municipal workers in the state of Maryland, including  9,000 educational workers in the City of Baltimore.

 

I am here today, on behalf of these educational workers, to express our opposition to House Bill 792, Baltimore City Public School System—Charter Management Organizations—Amendments to Collective Bargaining Agreements.

 

This bill would permit a charter school operator to propose changes to any part of the Teacher Agreement between the Baltimore Teachers Union and the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners, thus potentially invalidating provisions of existing contracts.

 

Worthy of noting is the fact that, while Charter school operators must notify the Board of School Commissioners and the Baltimore Teachers Union of the proposed changes, it completely excludes members of the BTU from the vote. This, in effect, allows charter school operators to function independently of  the union that negotiates for all pubic school teachers. Essentially, this means the vote is to be conducted without the involvement of the public schools’ exclusive bargaining representative.

 

 The current agreement between the Board of School Commissioners and the BTU provides for School Based Options that allow the administration  and teachers in individual schools to tailor certain provisions of the agreement to meet the needs of an individual school upon a vote of 80 percent of the teachers. The CEO of the schools, the BTU president and the school’s Building Representative all play a role in determining whether the proposed changes are adopted. HB 792 would violate this process.

 

Members of the Committee should note that no collective bargaining law in public education in Maryland permits an individual school to completely bypass a union and deal directly with its employees to determine wages, hours, salaries and working conditions.

 

HB 792 violates the very concept and established precedent of  union representation for members of a bargaining group.

 

We strongly recommend that the Committee give this bill an unfavorable report.

 

 

Thank you.

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