As Michael Buffer might say "Let's get ready to RUMMMMMMMBBBLLLLEEEEEE".
Recently, Las Vegas Teamsters Local 14 held a news conference stating that they are moving towards a showdown with the local Clark County Education Association (CCEA)in an effort to represent Clark County teachers. Local teachers who support the move recently held a 2 day rally and encouraged teachers to resign from CCEA. During this time they also encouraged teachers to sign pledge cards. The Teamsters got their start at http://teachers4change.net/ and have been trying to gain support for some time.
In the mean time, CCEA countered with a rally of their own in support of the current association. CCEA asserts that the teamsters are unfamiliar with the needs of educators and lack the experience necessary to meet the demands that come with the representation of a public service group.
It is estimated that 18,000 teachers serve the needs of Clark County, Nevada. In order for Local 14 to force a vote on representation some 9,000 local teachers would need to sign pledge cards, essentially saying that they want a vote on representation.
I'm sure the Teamsters are in for a battle. Rarely, will you find a more apathetic group than the teachers of Clark County. CCEA claims to represent 13,300 local teachers but thousands fewer than that voted in the last election for association president. Even if the Teamsters do earn the right to have an election to see who will represent them in negotiations for future contracts, 9,000 teachers would need to vote in favor of the new representation. No doubt, this is a large burden to overcome.
Regardless of who represent the teachers of Clark County in the future, teachers need to demand more than what the state legislature has been providing in salary increases. Power bills alone have risen much more than the 2% per year teachers have been averaging since 1999. It's not just Clark County that must do better, but the state of Nevada must find a way to attract and retain qualified teachers.
The problem really is the lack of concern the average teacher seems to care about the process of negotiations and making sure that somebody is standing loud and tall to support teachers interests. Until more teachers get off their cans and demand less hostile work environments and better pay, they are getting exactly what they deserve. The next few months are vital for Clark County School District teachers. Regardless of whether you side with the Teamsters local 14 or with the current Clark County Education Association it is important that each teacher stands up and is heard. If not, the state of Nevada and CCSD will continue giving teachers exactly what they deserve. Which is to say they will continue the status quo.
It should be quite a battle here in the battle born state, at least that's how I see it.