Contract rollover refusal latest sign of growing rift between Billings teachers and administration

BILLINGS — In Doug Brakke’s mind, it was a simple request.

“They had the opportunities to make us feel valued without any monetary risks involved,” the Billings Senior math teacher said. “So I guess my question is, why don’t you do that?”

When House Bill 251 was introduced into the state Legislature on Jan. 26, the Montana Federation of Public Employees went to work. The state’s largest union – mainly comprised of teachers – knew the sweeping Right-to-Work bill could drastically diminish their bargaining power if passed.