New law on open union negotiations has little impact on District 11 contract talks

From The Gazette (Colorado Springs): A new law that 70 percent of Colorado voters approved in November hasn’t translated to radical differences for local union negotiations, according to the head of the area’s only collective bargaining group for teachers.

Kevin Vick, president of the Colorado Springs Education Association, which represents about 1,400 certified educators in Colorado Springs School District 11, said part of its bargaining process has been open to the public for years.

As of January, all negotiations must be open for anyone to watch in school districts across the state.

Previously, D-11 and Vick’s association allowed the public to listen to discussions about financial proposals regarding salary, benefits, insurance, stipends and other compensation. But the public was banned from talks on “options” or “solutions.”

Vick said districts that had entirely closed bargaining sessions are likely experiencing a “drastic shift” with the new law. But here, “it hasn’t significantly changed bargaining overall to a great degree,” he said.

The 28,400-student school district and the union started negotiations for next school year’s contract in January. Two sessions remain next week, and voting on a proposed agreement will open for union members May 8.

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