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MEA Bargaining Impasse '10-'11 Update

Legislative Body Impasse Hearing before the School Board
 Tuesday, June 7, 2011
School Support Center
215 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, FL
Decisions made by the Board will impact pay and benefits for Teachers and Paraprofessionals for years to come
MEA Recommends that Teachers and Paraprofessionals Attend
Manatee Education Association (MEA), the union representing teachers and paraprofessionals, recommends that teachers and paraprofessionals plan on attending the June 7th impasse resolution hearing before the School Board. The Board, serving as the Legislative Body for the impasse hearing, must consider what is in the public interest, including the interests of the affected employees, when making decisions on the issues.  MEA encourages employees to attend and hear first hand how the school board is making the decisions that will impact your salary, benefits, terms and conditions of employment.
At the hearing, the Superintendent (or his representative) and MEA will make presentations to the Board on each issue and the Board will take final action on each issue. The public may not address the Board during this hearing, according to a memo from John Bowen, the Board’s attorney. 
After the Legislative Body acts on the rejected issues, the parties must reduce the contract to writing. This document, including the Board decisions and the issues previously agreed to in negotiations, is then submitted to the bargaining unit members for ratification.
Overall, MEA saw the Special Magistrate’s recommendations as fair and acceptable under the current economic conditions. There were a total of fourteen issues addressed by Marsha J. Murphy, the Florida Public Employee Relations Commission appointed fact-finder in this case. MEA had hoped that the recommendations would trigger an opportunity for the district and the union to reach an agreement, but a brief meeting with the district was not successful in moving the parties closer to an agreement.
The health insurance premium issue rejected by MEA, and the six recommendations rejected by the Superintendent will be presented in Legislative Body hearing before the Manatee County School Board. The six recommendations rejected by the Superintendent and the recommendations made by the Special Magistrate are summarized below:
·         Experience Step Advancement on the Salary Schedule- “I agree with the Association that the step salary structure should be implemented even if negotiations are ongoing.” The District says future advancement to the next step should be negotiable and should only occur after ratification rather than at the beginning of the work year as part of the structure of the schedule.
·         Terminal Pay – the “Special Magistrate recommends that the parties retain the present language of Article XIII of the CBA.” The District says future terminal pay should be eliminated for some and reduced by half for everyone.
·         High School Teachers assigned to six (rather than five) out of seven periods- There is simply no reason why the collective bargaining agreement needs to address this issue at this time. The District should withdraw this proposal.” The District says they need the flexibility “IF” they decide in the future to go to a seven period High School schedule.
·         Paraprofessional Reappointment Date- “Both the paraprofessional CBA and the teacher’s CBA should be modified to state that notification of reappointment must be given by May 15.” The District says they need additional time and want both to be June 1st.
·         Paraprofessional probation and contract status- “The Special Magistrate sees no logic to the District’s argument that it is not fair to teachers if paraprofessionals have a shorter probationary period. The District should withdraw their proposal.” The District wants to extend the probation to a full year and annual contracts for three years with an option for a fourth year.
·         Teacher/Employee Rights- “Many collective bargaining agreements in both the private and public sector are incorporating the requirement to abide by Federal Statutes and State and Federal Constitutions. This brings these statutory claims within the four corners of the agreement and provides that they can be addressed through the grievance procedure by an arbitrator. The Association’s proposal should be accepted.” The District does not want employees to have the right to grieve these concerns.

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