• Legislation Barring Post Secondary Employees From Engaging In Collective Bargaining Passed Out The House Education Committee Wednesday

    state capitolA bill barring post secondary employees from engaging in collective bargaining passed out the House Education Committee today.   Speaking as a proponent for HB 1184 was Representative Mark Mickelson of Sioux Falls.  He brought the legislation forward to help Southeast Technical Institute improve their student numbers.  He says they’re down, in big part, because of collective bargaining that’s creating an inflexible and inadaptable climate to attract good instructors.  Southeast Technical Institute currently has 187 employees with six employee union contracts.  He says that a decline in student numbers is directly linked to collective bargaining and he cited computer programming and networking as an example where Southeast Tech should be stronger.

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     Also speaking in support of the bill was Bob Faehn of Watertown, who is a former legislator and business owner at Watertown.  He says many highly skilled and highly paid employees are coming out of the tech schools and that the problem arises when students go into the work place making more than their teachers.  That, he says, is leaving the tech schools scrambling to hire the best instructors against a backdrop of strong private sector competition.  He says that Lake Area Technical Institute has no collective bargaining units, has record setting numbers of students and a happy workforce that is rated tops in the country.

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    Debra Hunking has been with Southeast Tech for many years as a teacher and administrator.  She rose in opposition to the bill saying collective bargaining already allows for adaptability and flexibility.

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     Mary McCorkle, who heads the South Dakota Education Association, also opposed the bill.

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     Following a fairly lengthy discussion the committee passed the bill on a 9-5 vote.  It will be sent to the House Floor with a due pass recommendation.