OLR Bill Analysis

HB 6416 (File 85, as amended by Senate “A”)*

AN ACT CONCERNING STATE CHARTER SCHOOL EMPLOYEES.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires (1) charter school teachers and other certified employees petitioning to have their employer recognize a union to file the petition with the State Board of Education (SBE) and (2) the SBE to take several actions after receiving the petition.

*Senate Amendment “A” makes conforming changes that specify (1) the process for a petition from charter school employees to go to the SBE and (2) subsequent steps the SBE must take, including posting notices of the request for union recognition and mailing such notices to the charter school governing council.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013

UNION RECOGNITION

The bill requires charter school teachers and other certified professional 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 teachers and other certified 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 and the charter school's governing council. 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 (i.e., a “representation election”). Under current law, the local board of education recognizes the union if no competing petition is filed. Under the bill, the charter school governing council must recognize the prospective charter school union if no competing union files a petition. By law, the charter school governing council, which oversees the school, acts as the board of education for purposes of collective bargaining.

Under the bill, if a competing union files a petition to trigger a representation election, the charter school governing council must not recognize the first petitioner as the union. The process then moves to the representation election.

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)

Education Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

18

Nay

7

(05/28/2013)