published Friday, May 20th, 2011

Nashville: GOP looks to sub bargaining with ‘conferencing’

Legislative Republicans are proposing to replace teachers’ collective bargaining rights with a concept they call “collaborative conferencing.”

The proposal is the result of an effort to reconcile competing House and Senate versions of a bill seeking to dial back union negations.

Republican Rep. Harry Brooks of Knoxville said the new version of the bill is aimed at easing the combative atmosphere of negotiations between teachers’ unions and school boards.

The measure would create conferences to craft memorandums of understanding on issues like salaries, grievances, benefits and working conditions. But it would shield other areas like differentiated pay or evaluations from discussions.

The bill would also eliminate payroll deductions that can be used for political contributions.

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