Special Report on Labor-Management Relations in Public Education

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The Boston Foundation and Dukakis Center recently released a new report entitled “Toward a New Grand Bargain: Collaborative Approaches to Labor-Management Reform in Massachusetts” written by Barry Bluestone, Director of the Dukakis Center, and Thomas A. Kochan, George M. Bunker Professor of Management at MIT.

After a presentation on the report, a panel of labor and management leaders had the opportunity to respond to the report’s recommendations. The panelists included:

  • Joanne F. Goldstein, Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development
  • Glen Koocher, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of School Committees
  • Daniel Murphy, Director of Educational Policy and Programs, American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts
  • Thomas Scott, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents
  • Paul Toner, President, Massachusetts Teachers Association

The report underscores the need for a new labor-management relations system in the public sector, particular in areas such as public education. More importantly, the report offers specific, concrete solutions for creating a new collaborative system.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • Expanded use of interest-based bargaining (IBB) in contract negotiations as a substitute for traditional adversarial negotiations.
  • Development of day-to-day shared responsibility among principals, teachers, and their union representatives at each school site for continuous problemsolving joint decision-making.
  • Replace the existing set of detailed work rules and job classifications in contracts with a system of continuous problem solving through joint decisionmaking committees comprised of the principal, teachers, and a union representative in each school to agree on changes in operating procedures as issues arise.
  • A system of teacher evaluation based on a combination of teacher peer review, assessment by principals, and multiple measures of student performance.

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