Greenfield Teachers Ask District For Voice on Contract Decisions
Union president says he hopes for continued labor peace.
The effects of Governor Scott Walker's dismantling of collective bargaining has begun to take shape in the Greenfield School District, leading teachers to request a seat at the table for decisions once negotiated by their union.
During Monday's school board meeting, Doug Perry, the president of the Greenfield Educational Association, publicly requested teachers have a voice in decisions pertaining to various employment issues and policies.
They include the district's grievance procedure, the employee handbook, the school calendar and health insurance, Perry indicated during Monday's School Board meeting that was was attended by dozens of teachers and community members.
"We realize that you don't have to include us anymore. We get that," Perry told the board. "But we think to continue on the labor peace that we have had for the years that I have been here … I think it is important to involve the people that are the frontline, in the classrooms everyday."
The district has had labor peace for more than two decades, according to Perry.
"We've had some disagreements and some contracts that have expired and things like that, but we have always been able to come to some sort of agreement," he said.
Board members did not comment on Perry's remarks because they were not part of the agenda.
This spring, Walker and the Republican-led Legislature passed a budget repair measure that effectively ended collective bargaining for most of the state's public employees. Walker and Republicans in Madison have claimed public employee unions are partly to blame for the financial problems of local school districts and municipalities.
Resident Bob Heule called on the board to do everything in its power to keep labor peace in the district.
"The one tool that he gave local government is the chain saw and that is what's going to happen to people if you use that," said Heule, referring to Walker's claim the he gave school districts and local municipalities tools to balance budgets.
"If you use a chain saw, you don't start at the bottom, you (start) from the top," Heule added. "My advice to you is that if you are going to cut something, cut the fat on the administrative staff and leave the employees alone."