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Teacher's Unions/Collective Bargaining: State and Local Laws

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) governs labor relations in private schools, subject to some limitations. A teachers' union of a private schools should determine whether the NLRA applies to its school. State labor statutes generally govern labor relations between public school districts and teachers' unions. These provisions are summarized below. Collective bargaining statutes differ considerably from state to state, with some states providing much more guidance and specific rules than others.

Here is a summary of state and local laws that can affect teachers unions in the bargaining process. See FindLaw's Teachers' Unions section to learn more.

ALABAMA: Teachers have a general right to join or refuse to join a labor organization.

ALASKA: Certified employees and school boards must follow specific procedures set forth in the statute. Under the state's Public Employment Relations Act, student representatives must be permitted to attend meetings and have access to documents in negotiations between a post-secondary education institution and a bargaining representative. The statute also permits a strike, with some limitations, by public school employees after mediation if a majority of employees vote by secret ballot to do so.

ARIZONA: Arizona has not enacted a collective bargaining statute governing public schools. Teachers in this state should consult relevant case law to determine when collective bargaining is permitted.

ARKANSAS: Teachers have a general right to organize and bargain collectively.

CALIFORNIA: An extensive statutory scheme is provided for governing collective bargaining between public schools and bargaining representatives, under the Public School Employee Relations Act. The statute limits the scope of representation to matters related to wages, employment hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. Employer and employee representatives are required to "meet and negotiate." If impasse is declared, mediation and, if necessary, fact-finding are required. Arbitration is permitted, but it is not required by statute.

COLORADO: Collective bargaining is permitted by statute. Teachers have a limited right to strike.

CONNECTICUT: A statute permits collective bargaining by members of the teaching profession. However, the state prohibits professional employees from striking and allows courts to enforce this prohibition.

DELAWARE: Public school employees are permitted to bargain collectively. Majority vote is required for union representation from all eligible members of the bargaining unit. The state prohibits strikes by teachers.

FLORIDA: The state constitution guarantees the right to collective bargaining but prohibits strikes by public employees. State statute defines "good faith bargaining," requiring parties to meet at reasonable times and places with the intent to reach a common accord.

HAWAII: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees. Statute defines certain bargaining units, including some supervisory employees. Mediation, fact-finding, and arbitration are provided in the statute. Strikes are permitted, but only in certain narrow circumstances.

IDAHO: Statute prescribes procedures for bargaining between a school board and certificated school employees.

ILLINOIS: Educational employees at all levels permitted to bargain under the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. However, several types of employees, including supervisors, managers, confidential employees, short-term employees, and students, are excluded from bargaining by statute. Impasse procedures include mediation and fact-finding. Arbitration is permitted. Strikes are permitted after several conditions set forth in the statute are met.

INDIANA: Certificated educational employees permitted to bargain by statute. Statute prescribes certain subjects that may be bargained and certain subjects that may be discussed. Strikes are prohibited.

IOWA: All public employees permitted to bargain collectively. Mediation and fact-finding required for impasse resolution. The state labor board at the request of the school board or union may order binding arbitration. Strikes are prohibited.

KANSAS: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees. Employer retains a number of rights, including right to direct work of employees. Strikes are prohibited.

LOUISIANA: No collective bargaining statute governs public schools. Teachers in this state should consult relevant case law to determine when collective bargaining is permitted.

MAINE: Statute permits collective bargaining by all public employees. Strikes by all state employees are prohibited.

MARYLAND: Statute permits bargaining by all certified and non-certified public school employees.

MASSACHUSETTS: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees. Strikes by public employees are prohibited.

MICHIGAN: Statute permits bargaining by public employees. Negotiations by teachers limited under some circumstances. Strikes by public employees are prohibited.

MINNESOTA: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees. State permits strikes only under certain circumstances, including completion of impasse resolution.

MISSISSIPPI: Strikes by teaches are illegal by statute.

MISSOURI: Teachers at public schools have the right to bargain collectively. Statute does not grant a right to strike.

MONTANA: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees. Courts have construed state statute to permit the right to strike.

NEBRASKA: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees. State restricts supervisors from joining a bargaining unit but permits some administrators, subject to restrictions, to join such a bargaining unit with teachers. Strikes by teachers are prohibited.

NEVADA: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees. Strikes by public employees are illegal by statute.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees. Impasse resolution procedures must be implemented within the time period specified by the statute. Strikes by public employees are illegal by statute.

NEW JERSEY: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees but excludes standards of criteria for employee performance from the scope of negotiation.

NEW YORK: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees. The statute limits the scope of negotiations to matters related to wages, employment hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. Arbitration is required by statute when an impasse is declared. Strikes by public employees are prohibited.

NORTH CAROLINA: Statute prohibits collective bargaining by all public employees. Statute also prohibits strikes by public employees.

NORTH DAKOTA: Statute permits bargaining by certificated school employees. Strikes by school employees are prohibited.

OHIO: Statute permits bargaining by public employees. Strikes by public employees are prohibited.

OKLAHOMA: Statute permits bargaining by all public school employees. Strikes by teachers are prohibited.

OREGON: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees. Impasse resolution procedures include mediation and fact-finding. Strikes are permitted after impasse resolution procedures have been implemented.

PENNSYLVANIA: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees under the Public Employee Relations Act. Statute limits which employees may be included in a single bargaining unit. Public school districts are not required to bargain over the "inherent management policy" of the district. Strikes by public employees are permitted after conditions set forth in the statute are met.

RHODE ISLAND: Statute permits bargaining by all certified public school employees. Strikes by public school employees are prohibited.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Statute permits bargaining by all public employees. Strikes by public employees are prohibited.

TENNESSEE: Negotiations by professional educators governed by the Education Professional Negotiations Act. Strikes by education professionals are prohibited.

TEXAS: Statute prohibits public employees from entering into a collective bargaining agreement. Statute also prohibits strikes by public employees.

UTAH: Statute permits union membership by public employees.

VERMONT: Statute permits bargaining by public school teachers, with representation election administered by the American Arbitration Association. Strikes by state employees are prohibited by statute.

VIRGINIA: Strikes by public employees are prohibited by statute.

WASHINGTON: Statute permits bargaining by public employees, including certified educational employees. Strikes by public employees are prohibited by statute.

WEST VIRGINIA: No collective bargaining statute governs public schools. Teachers in this state should consult relevant case law to determine when collective bargaining is permitted.

WISCONSIN: Statute permits bargaining by municipal employees. Impasse resolution procedures include mediation and arbitration. Strikes are permitted after impasse resolution procedures have been exhausted.

WYOMING: Statute permits right to bargain as a matter of public policy.

 

*Important Notice and Disclaimer: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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