Burlington School Board: Union won’t negotiate in public

BURLINGTON — The Burlington School Board is crying foul because it says the city’s teachers union is refusing to hold public negotiations for its upcoming contract.

“The people of Burlington want transparency,” said board Chair Mark Porter in a statement Monday. “We’ve made a concerted effort from the beginning to follow the same open negotiation process that many other school districts in Vermont have begun, but the (Burlington Education Association) has not agreed to hold contract talks in public, in response to our many requests to do so.”

The Vermont School Boards Association says nearly 60 percent of teacher contracts currently in negotiations in the state are being hammered out publicly, according to the news release from the Burlington board.

BEA President Fran Brock did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

The two sides have been negotiating a new contract since last year, when talks yielded a one-year contract that ends in August. The union and the board are hoping to reach a longer contract at a time when virtually every board and union in the state are working on new contracts that address changes in health care benefits.

In Burlington, the board said it asked the union several times between October 2016 and February at closed bargaining sessions and in writing to allow public negotiations. The union refused, according to the news release.

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Morgan True

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  • Edward Letourneau

    Simply tell them the public is invited. If they want to negotiate the board will be there.

  • Seth Hopkins

    ALL public employee union negotiations should be held in public. Their end result, after all, is spending of the public’s money. Teachers’ salaries and benefits represent the lions’ share of education spending, which itself is the majority of every Vermonter’s property tax bill.

    Ask yourself why the union would oppose letting any daylight in to this process. Could it be that their demands are unreasonable, their NEA-funded labor attorneys are tenacious and run circles around our volunteer elected school boards, and deep down they know they are dealing a fixed game in a crooked house with a loaded deck?

    Churchill, as so often, gets to the root of it: our civil servants are no longer servants. They’re not even civil.

  • Matt Young

    Ironic that the union controlled, big public education monopoly are the ones crying foul when it comes to transparency regarding independent schools. I guess transparency only matters when it’s convenient.

  • Paul Richards

    “…the city’s teachers union is refusing to hold public negotiations for its upcoming contract.”
    Of course they are. Secrecy and deception are pillars of their existence. Should the taxpayers be part of, have any knowledge of or any control of what amounts to roughly 80% of the budget? We never have had, ever since public sector unions were allowed. This dirty, corrupt pay to play system developed by and perpetuated by the unions and their democrat allies is the main cause of our budget problems. In 1943, a New York Supreme Court judge held: To tolerate or recognize any combination of civil service employees of the government as a labor organization or union is not only incompatible with the spirit of democracy, but inconsistent with every principle upon which our government is founded. Nothing is more dangerous to public welfare than to admit that hired servants of the State can dictate to the government the hours, the wages and conditions under which they will carry on essential services vital to the welfare, safety, and security of the citizen. To admit as true that government employees have power to halt or check the functions of government unless their demands are satisfied, is to transfer to them all legislative, executive and judicial power.