State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said Thursday he favors ending collective bargaining by public school teachers but acknowledged he is open to compromise with the House of Representatives.
“It’s extremely important that we don’t have public employee unions negotiating union contracts that tie local governments into these contracts. I’ve been up here 19 years and I’ve never hidden my sentiment on that,” Ramsey said.
The Senate Education Committee has approved legislation to overturn the 1978 law that gave the teachers’ union the right to negotiate contracts with school districts. But a vote on the Senate floor has been delayed while lawmakers work on a compromise with House Republicans, some of whom oppose an outright repeal of the law.
House Speaker Beth Harwell said this week she wants to end collective bargaining for merit pay, leaving open the possibility that she would go along with union negotiations on base pay and benefits. Other lawmakers are discussing giving school boards the option of deciding whether to negotiate contracts with their teachers.
“We’re going to forge ahead in the Senate,” Ramsey told reporters. “But obviously a bill has to pass both houses in the same form. So if the House comes up with an amendment that 17 senators can agree on, we’ll pass it in that form.”