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Colorado Legislator Introduces Bill to Ban Collective Bargaining

A Colorado lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban collective-bargaining between public employers and employees, including teachers. 

Currently, Colorado is among the states that don't require districts to engage in bargaining, but don't prohibit it either. Districts can choose whether or not they want to recognize an employee union. But that would change under the bill, introduced by Rep. Justin Everett, a Republican from Jefferson County, Colo.

The bill, introduced Jan. 13, would not even allow for a phase-out of bargained agreements currently in place. Instead, they would be immediately terminated once the bill was signed.

The measure would still allow teachers to join associations (essentially, an affiliation of teachers without bargaining power). 

Many states introduced similar bills in 2011, with Wisconsin severely restricting the scope of bargaining and Tennessee outlawing it. Ohio also passed a law outlawing bargaining which was subsequently overturned in a referendum. Michigan, in 2012, passed a "right to work" law that prohibit unions from compelling employees to join and pay dues.

It's interesting to see this action in Colorado, a state in which controversial education measures, such as a 2010 law revamping teacher evaluation, have generally had some measure of bipartisan support. It's hard to see the Democrats supporting this one.

There's little information out there as yet on this bill's chances, but if history is any guide it won't have much of a shelf life: An identical bill sponsored by Everett in 2013 was killed in committee less than a month after its introduction.

Follow along on Twitter at @Stephen_Sawchuk and @TeacherBeat.


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