Tonight's resolution passed overwhelmingly. CM Emily Evans voted for it, calling Mr. Register's break with previous union arrangements "needless" and the breach between the district and the unions a "gratuitous fight". She described the MNPS decision to discard unions one "without any documented benefits for students". Council conservatives--who rarely stand with workers--were predictably cool toward the motion urging the school district to reengage the unions. Duane Dominy bemoaned the strained relationship between the district and its workers, but he based his opposition to the bill on the unfounded conjecture that it would cause greater strain.
|SEIU photo of former MNPS board member|
& current CM Karen Johnson
meeting with union members
Register ... [and] the school board’s “executive staff” decided to discontinue the MOUs entirely by deleting the school system’s Labor Negotiations Policy.
Register referenced Tennessee’s Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act, which was passed by the state legislature last year and replaced teachers’ collective bargaining rights with “collaborative conferencing” ....
“In recognition of state law regarding teachers’ unions, and the non-binding nature of any MOU with support unions, my executive staff has met and voted to rescind HR 5.129, the Labor Negotiations Policy.”
The move didn’t go over well with SEIU Local 205 president Doug Collier.
“Dr. Register is now trying to use those laws — which do not apply to school support employees — as an excuse to overreach his authority and silence the voices of thousands of loyal city employees who voted to form a union,” Collier said in a press release.
The USW and SEIU sent complaint letters to Metro Board of Education Chairwoman Gracie Porter earlier this month.
Gracie Porter never replied publicly. At least there is no indication in online news searches that she did. I received tips a couple of years ago that Ms. Porter cast the deciding vote for Mr. Register's plan to privatize the service workers' jobs in exchange for the position of board chair. And no good deed goes unpunished, as SEIU had already canvassed for Ms. Porter during her campaign for office four years before that. I can understand how speaking out publicly on Mr. Register's rejection of unions might put Ms. Porter in an awkward position.
Given the district's terse reply to the media tonight, Jesse Register does not appear too receptive to the council's resolution. I am Jack's total lack of surprise.