Reconsidering this, I think you are probably right, Steve,
about the board's authority vis-a-vis the website. I was straining to
relate this to the experience in Montpelier that I mentioned earlier, but,
thinking about it further, I believe that there was a specific law in place
about using budgeted funds for the mailing that was done. On another
level, though, I wonder about fair labor practices. Again, I'm stretching
here, but in most cases an employer cannot prevent a union that it has
contracted with from posting information in the workplace about union
activities, etc.. If information is now typically promulgated via a
website rather than a bulletin board, would the union have some right to use
that means to deliver its messages as well?
Fundamentally, the school board has a right to control what
is published to the school's website, while the teachers association has no
such right. The teachers association may request permission to have
information published or to include a link to a separate website from the
board, but the board has no obligation to provide same.
It would have been wise for the teachers association to
request a link to their own website at some point in the past, when contract
negotiations were not taking place. I suspect it would be a lot harder
for them to gain access now.
South Burlington High School
It's contract negotiations time in Winooski, and the school's
website is caught in the crossfire. As one of the Website's
administrators, I'm now looking at biased talking points from the school board
linked on the site's main page, with an angry teachers' union breathing down
my neck requesting equal time and space on the site. I find this whole
thing an extremely inappropriate use for our site. Have any other
districts used their school's Website for such purposes? It feels like
an unprofessional "he said, she said" sort of thing, but if it's a commonly
accepted use for the site, well, I should smile and nod and keep my mouth
Are other schools' sites used this way during contract negotiations?
Winooski City Schools
Winooski, VT 05404
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