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Teachers union and school officials at odds over union contract

For those in Broward Count that are unfamiliar with the particulars of contract disputes, these cases often require that certain protocols be followed and courtesies be observed. A failure to comply to these requirements can be seen as an effort to go over people’s heads. Others may views such actions as attempts to assert undue influence. Still others mays see it as simple naiveté. In any event, a lack of respect for the contract negotiation process can do untold damage to any progress made towards a resolution.

A Michigan community is currently seeing firsthand how fractured relations can become during two parties embroiled in a contractual dispute. Both the community’s public school administration as well as the local teachers union are at odds over the expiration date of the union’s contract with the district. Administrators claim the contact expires at end of June, and that the current impasse both sides are in is due to the teachers’ unwillingness to negotiate. The teachers, on the other hand, worry that some of their employment protections will be lost with the end of their current deal.

The strain between both sides was readily apparent this week after the teachers union formally filed unfair labor practice charges with the state’s Employment Relations Commission. Their ire is aimed specifically at the district superintendent, whom they claim interfered with communication between union leadership and its membership. This comes right on the heels of a charge being filed by the administrators against the union citing their unwillingness to negotiate towards a new contract.

Understanding the complexities that go into contract negotiation may help avoid actions that others could view as being inappropriate. That understanding may come easier through consulting with a business and commercial law attorney.

Source: MLive “Ann Arbor teachers union says superintendent coerced teachers during contract dispute,” Knake, Lindsay, June 1, 2015

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