Strother Teachers choose independent representation

Teachers in another Oklahoma school district have elected a non-union bargaining agent for upcoming negotiations. Monday, teachers selected the Strother Professional Association (SPA). It was the third decertification in recent weeks and the fourth in state history. 
The independent teachers association will replace the union in Strother and implement the Collaborative Communication Model supported by the Professional Oklahoma Educators (POE), a statewide independent professional association based in Norman. 
POE describes the Collaborative Communication Model for negotiations as a more open and inclusive process allowing all teachers to have a voice in negotiations that affect their employment, regardless of membership or affiliation. This model uses a team approach, focusing on what is best for students.

“The action in Strother ratifies growing enthusiasm for an alternative to confrontational models of negotiating. We frequently get feedback from teachers across the state saying that they feel left out of discussions regarding their own employment,” POE Executive Director Ginger Tinney said. “The Collaborative Communication Model brings these discussions into the light so that teachers can be sure that their best interests are being represented.” 
Tinney said the model is all about teacher empowerment. “Teachers want to be a part of this process,” Tinney said. “We need a system that allows them to stay informed and involved so that they can work with school administration to make the best choices for students. The Collaborative Communication Model offers that.” 
Tinney said she was “affirmed to see another group of my colleagues in teaching choose independence, collaboration and professionalism over the divisive models of the past.” SPA will be recognized as the official bargaining agent for teachers at the next school board meeting, required to be held within 14 days of the election. Officers of the Strother group are Connie Wingfield, Christie Cheatwood, Susan Taff and Nicki Gray. 
This is the fourth Oklahoma school district to decertify union representation. Last month, teachers in Dibble and Macomb kicked the union out. Teachers in the Bridge Creek system were the first, decertifying the union in 2005.