Analyst: Bargaining doesn’t boost wages

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Collective bargaining does not make a big difference in teacher wages, but may influence benefit levels, according to a report at the Education Next website.

Michael Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute used data from the National Council on Teacher Quality to compare information on teacher wages in states where collective bargaining is illegal to those in other states, he wrote in a blog post. The database includes information for more than 100 of the largest districts from each of the 50 states, the report said. Detroit is the only Michigan district included in the database.

Petrilli used the maximum salary a teacher with a bachelor’s degree could earn as the baseline for the comparison, he reported, and found that teachers in non-collective bargaining districts earn $64,500 on average, versus $57,500 for those in unionized settings.

Comparing benefits, Petrilli reported that he found that one-third of districts without collective bargaining offer free health insurance to employees, compared to one-half of those with collective bargaining.

Petrilli said that to explore the issue further, analysts would want to consider the cost of living in each locale and also include more than just the largest districts. He wrote, “Still, this is one indication that teachers, when stripped of their right to bargain collectively, rarely get sent to the poorhouse.”

Education Next, “Losing Their Bargaining Rights won’t send Teachers to the Poorhouse,” March 17, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Benefits in Balance