Union members rally in support of teachers

Union members rally in support of teachers (Image 1)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Several hundred people in support of Tennessee teachers and collective bargaining rights held by unions rallied on the state's Capitol Hill midday Tuesday.

It was the second major union rally held this month although not quite as large as the gathering held March 5.

The group is against a Republican-backed bill that would strip collective bargaining rights held exclusively by the Tennessee Education Association.

If passed, Tennessee school districts would no longer have to engage in negotiations with the TEA, which represents more than 52,000 educators statewide.

Union members from across the state attended Tuesday's rally, some who traveled to Nashville by the busload.

“I have always been a supporter of collective bargaining rights of the worker.  Labor is entitled to what labor produces,” supporter Minx Reichard told Nashville's News 2.

Memphis union member Herbert James said, “Basically it's union busting and if they don't hear the union we are going to vote them out.”

The collective bargaining bill easily passed a Senate committee along party lines last week, but may be softened in the House.

“Teachers are the ones there with children everyday, and know what will help kids learn better, and they just need to be at the table,” Democratic Rep. Sherry Jones said.

Republican House Caucus Chair Gerald McCormick said of Tuesday's rally added, “I think there are talks going on that would possibly make the bill a little less objectionable to the teachers union.”

The bill could come up in a House subcommittee as early as Wednesday.

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