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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 22, 2013 03:16 PM
From: Representative Will Tallman
To: All House members
Subject: Strike Free Education Act
 
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce the Strike Free Education Act which Representative Todd Rock sponsored last session in the form of House Bill 1369.

Within the past decade, the majority of teacher strikes nationwide have occurred in three states: Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio. In fact, from the 2000-01 school year to the 2010-11 school year there were 105 teacher strikes in Pennsylvania which interrupted and adversely impacted the learning experiences of more than 296 thousand students, and also had a negative economic impact on our local communities. Furthermore, our neighboring states of New York, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey do not allow strikes by any public sector employees, including teachers. In all, 36 states plus the District of Columbia prohibit strikes by public employees.

The Strike Free Education Act repeals the current collective bargaining article, Article XI-A, in the Public School Code and creates a new article to address the collective bargaining process. My bill will be essentially the same as Representative Rock’s previous legislation with the addition of some technical amendments and a small change in the process for post school year negotiations, which replaces the transparency meetings regarding the ongoing negotiations that were mandated under HB 1369 with a requirement that updates regarding the ongoing negotiations be made available to the general public at the employer’s administrative offices and on the employer’s website.

The highlights of the bill are as follows:
  • Protecting the education of our students:
    • Strikes and lockouts are prohibited with defined penalties for employers, employee organizations, and employees.

  • Protecting taxpayers:
    • No binding arbitration is required.
    • Tentative contract agreements are made public before a final vote can be taken.
    • No retroactivity provisions may be included in new agreements.

  • Protecting teachers:
    • Guaranteed mediation, fact-finding, non-binding arbitration, public transparency meetings and mandatory negotiations.
    • Teachers opposed to strikes are guaranteed the ability to work.
    • School and union officials must reach a mutually acceptable agreement, and neither side, nor any third party, has the right to impose a contract settlement on the parties involved. There are also increasing levels of public scrutiny built into the process to encourage early settlement and to avoid extreme negotiating positions.
If you would like to join me in cosponsoring this legislation, please click on the link below.

If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Carol Hoffman in my Harrisburg office at 783-8875 or via e-mail at choffman@pahousegop.com.



Introduced as HB1139