Without collective bargaining, Clark County teachers would be hosed

I can no longer stand by and read Victor Joecks’ hostile attacks on the Clark County teachers’ union and collective bargaining (Wednesday Review-Journal). There are severe flaws with several of his points.

Arbitration is the last-ditch solution to settle contract disputes. Each year, however, officials with the Clark County School District intentionally bargain in bad faith and force the union into arbitration. They do this on purpose to delay as long as possible reaching a settlement and paying raises, etc. Each year, the school district causes arbitration — and both sides know it.

The only safety net that teachers have is collective bargaining. In Nevada (unlike other states we have read about in the news lately), it is illegal for teachers to strike. If collective bargaining were taken away, school district officials could set wages at whatever they liked; they could cut wages by 50 percent if they wished. In recent years, the district has frozen wages for years and changed wage scales contrary to the negotiated contract. It would most certainly accelerate that activity if the last barrier to protect teachers were removed.

Lastly, having the School Board resolve contract disputes is laughable. Contract law and the disputes arising from them are extremely complex legal matters and must be left to professionals. Elected officials will decide people’s fate based on public opinion and emotion when it needs to be decided on a legal basis.

When the district decides to bargain in good faith, we will no longer have arbitration. And when the Legislature decides to fully fund education, the district will start to bargain in good faith.

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