Union-Busting Heads West: Idaho Strips Teachers' Bargaining Rights

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The scourge of the evil teacher hordes is finally being crushed thanks to the efforts of rich white men. In Idaho, where teacher salaries average $45,000 per year and put the greedy educators marginally over the poverty line, the state legislature is finally stepping in and derailing the gravy train.

The state yesterday passed a bill that would strip most of the collective bargaining rights of teachers.

The bill passed both the Senate and House easily in the deeply red state, despite nine Republicans crossing the aisle and voting against it in the latest House vote. Now heading to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's office for signing, the law makes it illegal for teachers' unions to negotiate over workload and class size. It also eliminates tenure, shortens teacher contracts, and removes seniority from consideration during layoffs.

The state's 12,000 unionized teachers will still be able to negotiate over salary and benefits.

The bill is less sweeping than Scott Walker's scorched-earth plan in Wisconsin. But the elimination of tenure and the stripping of bargaining power will undoubtedly lead to larger class sizes, more teacher turnover, and reduced state funding for education overall.

It's also a gift to charter schools, who soon will be able to advertise more of the things that public education can no longer give students. But gifts are always paid for, and the stacks of corporate and charter-school cash that lubed the way for key Gem State pols to push through the union-busting bill is thick and greasy.

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