TEACHER BARGAINING IN MINNESOTA IN 1983-86: SOME ADDITIONAL PERSPECTIVE
ROBERT D. LEY AND WILLIAM A. WINES
AbstractMinnesota by statute bargains teacher contracts in each of its 434 school districts on a biannual basis. In an earlier article, we analyzed the 1981 bargaining data and the thirty-five strikes. After eliminating the ten noneconomic strikes, we found a 72 percent success rate for teachers in the remaining strikes by measuring net final settlement against last-offer prestrike. In 1983, Minnesota experienced only eight teacher strikes and none since then. This article presents the results of our study of the 1983 and 1985 bargaining rounds for Minnesota teachers. Our findings inclued a significant trend toward teacher locals working long periods (twelve and eighteen months) without contracts and an increasing disparity in the settlements and bargaining power of metropolitan and out-state teacher locals. Our findings support the conclusions that teachers are rational bargainers; that chances for successful teacher strikes have declined since 1983; and that the refusal to settle by teachers represents an exercise in collective voice. Decline in strike activity, therefore, rather than indicating a maturing bargaining relationship, reflects changes in the economic environment and institutional framework for collective bargaining.
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