Unfair labor practice alleged
Teacher's union plans to file claim against school board
Thursday, October 17, 2013 7:00 PM
MENOMINEE - The Menominee City District Education Association (MCDEA) plans to file another unfair labor practice charge Monday against the Menominee Area Public Schools Board of Education for allegedly presenting an illegal proposal during a Sept. 30 bargaining session.
The proposal allegedly violates state law PA-152 which governs how much money Michigan school districts can pay toward health insurance for teachers. If teachers would've accepted the proposal, it would've exposed the district to losing 10 percent of state revenue or $1.2 million at a time when it faces a budget deficit, the association stated Wednesday in a news release.
RaeAnn Loy, UniServe director of the Michigan Education Association in Escanaba, Mich., called the latest charge just another example of how the teachers' union feels the school district hasn't been negotiating in good faith.
The new charge will be amended next week with three previous charges against the district. One deals with limiting class size and two pertain to procedures the district uses for filling extracurricular positions, Loy said.
Randy Neelis, financial consultant for the school district, said he didn't attend the Sept. 30 bargaining session, but doubts the board would've intentionally presented an illegal proposal to the association. If, in fact, it did, it was an honest mistake, Neelis said.
"Since the union didn't sign anything, it's not going to happen," he said. "So I don't see what the big deal is."
During a pretrial teleconference at 10 a.m. on Nov. 26, representatives from the board, MCDEA and the Michigan Employee Relations Commission will establish a date, parameters and location for a trial. Representatives may also clarify or settle issues during the teleconference.
The board has considered imposing a 5 percent cut to teachers' salaries to alleviate the budget deficit and eliminate class size limits from the teachers' contract.