As Wisconsin politicians stay locked in a stalemate over a proposed law governing public employees’ unions, Idaho’s legislature on Tuesday passed a bill restricting collective bargaining rights for the state’s unionized teachers.
Under the bill, which is expected to be signed into law by the state’s Republican governor, collective bargaining for the state’s 12,000 unionized teachers would be limited to salary and benefits only, and could not be used to negotiate course loads, class sizes and other working conditions.
The legislation, which had already cleared the state Senate in February, passed the Republican-controlled House by a 48-22 vote Tuesday. The measure is part of a broader education reform initiative being spearheaded by Gov. Butch Otter. In Wisconsin and in Indiana — where Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels and the Republican legislature agreed to reconsider their bill after Democrats fled to Illinois in protest — proposed legislation would affect most, if not all, public-sector unions, and not just those representing teachers.
The Idaho bill also ends teacher tenure, limits contracts to one year and ends the “last in, first out” method that most school districts use when determining teacher layoffs. Collective bargaining would be completely banned in any district where the union is unable to prove that at least half the district’s teachers are members.