AJC Editorial on Collective Bargaining

The following editorial was published in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution on Saturday, February 27, 2011 as part of their Pro/Con series.
“When private sector employees sit down to discuss conditions of employment, they are in essence negotiating. In the public sector, it’s called collective bargaining. It brings both parties together to negotiate terms of employment that both sides can agree upon.
In Georgia, public sector employees don’t have a say in the conditions of their employment. We don’t have the right to bargain our contracts, negotiate our benefits, or have a say in our working conditions, which in our case are one in the same with our students’ learning conditions. What affects one, impacts the other. It is because this correlation is so direct that we want to make certain the practitioners’ voices are clearly heard. Collective bargaining rights would ensure they would be clearly heard.
And although Georgia may never allow collective bargaining, we will never let educating our state’s children turn into an us-versus-them situation. Instead, it must be an equal partnership. That is what we now work daily to attain; respectful, open relationships with those who make the critical decisions that impact the total public education structure. “
Calvine Rollins
Georgia Association of Educators