decorahnews.com has reported (http://www.decorahnews.com/news-stories/2018/04/19026.html) that contracts have been issued for Decorah school employees (all got a 2.25 percent package increase). What became of the DEA negotiations that are usually a predecessor to the issuance of contracts?
The answer – it happened last year!
In February of 2017, the Republican-controlled legislature voted along party lines to implement sweeping changes to curtail the collective bargaining rights of most public-sector employees in the state. Under the legislation, most public-sector union contract negotiations now are limited only to base wages. Unions are now banned from negotiating with their employers over major issues such as health insurance, retirement benefits, evaluation procedures, staff reduction practices, and leaves of absence for political activities.
There remain some issues that unions and employers can agree to negotiate such as: hours and vacation days, seniority, health and safety issues, and in-service training. Of note in the legislative action is the special consideration given to public safety workers such as police and firefighters who will have a broader list of issues that can be considered in contract talks.
As a result of the new legislation, last year the DEA and the Decorah Community School Board agreed to negotiate in advance for the 2018-19 school year because the opportunity to engage in future collective bargaining had been greatly reduced.
The Decorah Education Association and the Decorah Community School Board have enjoyed a long-standing positive collaborative relationship. The two groups say they hope that the new limits on bargaining will not jeopardize that relationship, despite the shift in power that could favor administration.
(partial sourcing from the Des Moines Register, Feb. 16, 2017)