Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Help avoid a train wreck?

There is an interesting confluence of meetings scheduled for Tuesday at 3:30 PM at Horace Mann.
  • The Teachers have scheduled to hold a union meeting. This is a closed session, open only to union members. The union will be updated on the response by the School Committee to the teachers offer of the million dollar contract concession.
  • The School Committee have scheduled to hold an open meeting intending to participate in a discussion with the teachers.
Who remembers their chemistry lesson on oil and water? They don't mix do they?

Bottom line: These two groups have not been communicating with each other.

There are quite a few points of disagreement but the major one for me is:
  • Contrary to what the School Committee has stated and published, the teachers union meeting of 4/13/09 did have a vote of all teachers present on a deferment of the 2.5% cost of living increase for FY 2010 without any conditions. It failed miserably.
  • The vote that passed (80% for, 20% against) for was for the 2.5% cost of living deferment attached to three conditions. The three conditions have been reported in the Milford Daily News and here.
The union hired a parliamentarian to assist them with handling the protocol (i.e Robert's Rules) for the meeting.

The teachers feel that since the School Committee did send a letter to them asking for the salary concession, they have, in effect, opened the contract for negotiation. The three items tied by the teachers to their salary deferment were supposed to have been addressed in a side-letter after passing the current contract two years ago. For a few reasons, the most current of which is beyond the control of the individual assigned to lead the side-letter effort, resolution on these three issues has gone nowhere. As a result, these three issues were brought to the table with the salary concession and linked together.

So there seems to be a stalemate brewing.

For some reason the School Committee is hung on keeping the three items.
To the extent that they keep the three items, they will lose the million dollar concession.

Who wins?

No one, not the School Committee, not the teachers, not the children of Franklin.

In my unique position, I can not stand by and watch this train wreck occur.

Note: I am deliberately using the terms 2.5% cost of living increase deferment because that is really what it is. There are still salary increases possible for some on both the Town and School side due to "steps and lane" changes per the union contracts. In this case, the talked of "salary freeze" is a misuse of the term.

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