SOBC's bylaws aren't open to public

Where do we find the legal charter, bylaws and organizational structure of the Southern Oregon Bargaining Council, and how is their authority granted?

— J.D., Medford

As a democratic union organization, the Southern Oregon Bargaining Council's bylaws and the like are not public records.

"We don't share that information," said Jim Bond, a consultant for the Oregon Education Association, of which the SOBC is a part. "We are not a public entity. We are not funded by the state."

Like the OEA, the SOBC is funded solely by union dues. You hardly ever hear about the SOBC unless it vetoes a decision by a teachers union, as it did Feb. 9 in the case of the Ashland School District.

Ashland teachers had voted to allow the district to cut several of their work days to balance the budget, decimated by losses in state funding.

The SOBC, made up of officers of local teachers unions in the OEA, wanted the district to wait to cut the days until it had a more certain financial picture from the state, said Jane Bilodeau, an OEA consultant.

The SOBC is scheduled to reconsider the Ashland school day cuts at a meeting March 2.

All of the school districts, except for Butte Falls, have elected the SOBC as their bargaining representative, Bond said.

Like the SOBC, the OEA doesn't share its bylaws and policies with the general public. If you go to the OEA's Web site, you will find you have to enter a member number to read the association's bylaws, legislative objectives, policies, resolutions, code of ethics and meeting minutes.

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