Tukwila School Board Brings Union Bargaining Into Daylight

Tukwila School Board Brings Union Bargaining Into Daylight

Tukwila School Board Brings Union Bargaining Into Daylight

As the teachers’ union in Washington has grown more and more assertive when it comes to school policies related to spending priorities, schedules, accountability, workloads and evaluations, collective bargaining is increasingly important to the public interest.

The union attempt to buy or bully school boards into yielding has reached fever pitch, with more and more strikes and strike threats in recent years. Pullman Public Schools started allowing observers in bargaining sessions in spring.

Now the Tukwila School Board has decided to allow residents, union members and journalists to observe the bargaining between the district and the union officials.

On July 11, Tukwila leadership team passed a resolution announcing the new direction.

They noted, “(T)he district believes both employee organizations and the district will benefit from a transparent process and enhanced public understanding of District operations and budgetary constraints.”

In its explanation of the policy, the district notes transparency “will provide an incentive for both parties (management and labor) to take timely, reasonable, publicly defendable positions that allow the community to better understand the budget and other implications of collective bargaining contracts.”

The Freedom Foundation applauds the Tukwila school board for taking this important action. This is another major step toward advancing government transparency in Washington state.

This year, hundreds of school board races are on ballots across the state. The winners in these races will decide whether your district makes these important meetings public as they are in Oregon, Idaho, Pullman and Tukwila.

See a list of your school board candidates here.

Please send an email asking them:

“Do you support allowing public observation of collective bargaining sessions with school employee union representatives like they do in Pullman and Tukwila?”

Senior Policy Analyst
Jami Lund is the Freedom Foundation’s Senior Policy Analyst. From 2004 to 2011, he developed legislative policy as a research analyst for the Washington House Republican Caucus. Prior to that he worked for the Freedom Foundation as the Project Manager for the Teachers Paycheck Protection project, shepherding the development of the Foundation’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court case to protect teacher rights. Jami is an accomplished speaker and researcher, one of Washington state’s top scholars on education policy and finance.