October 5, 2021

Educators: It’s Time To Restore Our Power To Negotiate

Educators: It’s Time To Restore Our Power To Negotiate Featured Image

WEAC educators are organizing around a bill circulating for co-sponsorship at the Capitol, one that would restore collective bargaining rights to educators.

Our union has consistently fought for our freedom to negotiate with our employers to advance our core values of collaboration, professionalism, advocacy, social justice and economic security.

The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Chris Larson and Representative Katrina Shankland, is a result of WEAC’s ongoing advocacy. Back home teams of educators met with legislators over the summer about the power to negotiate and WEAC state officers held over 30 meetings with elected officials. This is the third time WEAC has successfully influenced the introduction of a bill to allow educators under law to negotiate with our employers.

WEAC President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen is urging educators to spread the word and to contact lawmakers in support of the proposed legislation. “With collective bargaining you negotiate. You agree to something. You’re held to it,” she said. “Educators need that collaboration now, more than ever, because currently in Wisconsin the professionals who need to be at the table, aren’t at the table. Wisconsin, it’s time to restore the teacher’s role in shaping the school experience for students. We do that through collective bargaining.

“This bill will pave the way for educators to have a say in our schools,” she said. “This bill is the chance for Wisconsin to tell educators you are with us. You see us. You hear us. And you’re listening.

“We’ll keep giving 110 percent because our students are counting on us. We’re counting you, Wisconsin legislators, to make it legal again for educators to negotiate with our employers.”

Specifically, the bill establishes collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin Public School educators to negotiate together and require employers to meet regularly on policies affecting wages, hours and working conditions. The bill applies to the PK-12 and WTCS membership and UW faculty and administrative staff.