OLR Bill Analysis

HB 6416

AN ACT CONCERNING STATE CHARTER SCHOOL EMPLOYEES.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires charter school employees petitioning to have their employer recognize a union to file the petition with the State Board of Education (SBE) and requires the SBE to take several actions after receiving the petition.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013

UNION RECOGNITION

This bill requires charter school employees petitioning to have a union recognized by their employer to file the petition with the SBE rather than, as under current law, with the local or regional board of education.

The bill requires the SBE, within three school days of receiving the petition from a majority of employees, to (1) post a notice of the request for union representation on each bulletin board for teachers in every affected school or, if there are no bulletin boards, give a copy of the notice to each employee who may potentially be in the union and (2) mail a copy of the notice to the education commissioner. Under current law, these actions are the duty of the local or regional board of education.

The bill and current law provide a timeframe for a competing union to submit a petition to trigger an election for employees to choose the official union representing them. Under the bill, the SBE must recognize the prospective charter school union if no competing union files a petition. Under current law, the local board of education recognizes the union if no competing petition is filed.

Under current law, the employer, which is the local or regional board of education, is involved in all the steps leading to union recognition. The bill does not make clear when the required steps of the union recognition process would switch from the SBE back to the local authority, which in the case of state charter schools is usually the board of directors or trustees of the charter school. For example, it is not clear when the charter school board, the employer that must at some point recognize the new union, is informed that SBE has recognized the new union.

BACKGROUND

Charter Schools

Charter schools are nonsectarian, independent public schools that are granted a state charter by the SBE or a local charter by a local or regional board of education. Any person, for-profit or nonprofit entity, higher education institution, school board or boards, or regional educational service center, but not a private elementary or secondary school, can apply to operate a state or local charter school. Currently, there are no local charter schools in Connecticut.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

11

Nay

0

(03/07/2013)