Minnesota GOP Pushes Anti-Union Legislation

Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011 02:01 PM

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Minnesota Republicans moved forward a bill Monday to take away the ability of teachers to strike, and to limit contract negotiations to the summer months, the Pioneer Press reported Tuesday.

State Sen. David Hann, an Eden Prairie Republican, sponsored the bill which passed the State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee.

The measure, which would go into effect in July 2013, would prohibit teachers from striking putting them in the same category as “essential employees” such as firefighters, police officers and prison guards.

In addition, the proposed law would require school boards and teachers’ representatives to negotiate employment contracts during the summer months when school is not in session. If no agreement is reached by Sept. 1, the negotiations would be suspended until the following summer. If by the following Sept. 1 there’s still no agreement, the matter would go to arbitration.

Since 1995, there have been three teacher strikes in Minnesota.
When they occur, strikes can be quite damaging for students, said Sen. Paul Gazelka, a Brainerd Republican. A two-month strike in Crosby-Ironton in 2005 "was absolutely terrible," he told the newspaper.

"It was not about the children," Gazelka said. "Children should not be in the middle of that."

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