Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Settlement of grievance binds all unit employees


Settlement of grievance binds all unit employees
Decisions of the Commissioner of Education, Decision #10728

Former Section 3102 (6) of the Education Law (repealed in 1971) permitted School Boards to place newly employed teachers on the salary schedule reflecting prior teaching service.

In 1978 the Nanuet Teachers Association brought a grievance claiming the District had violated a contract provision by failing to properly calculate the length of service of teachers earlier granted “transfer credit.”

The grievance was “settled” in the course of arbitration. As a result 39 “otherwise eligible” teachers did not have their transfer credit counted in computing their eligibility for longevity increments.

The 39 educators appealed to the Commissioner of Education, contending claiming that the “settlement” was not binding upon them and, further, their employee organization did not fairly represent them.

The Commissioner rejected the appeal. He indicated that the 39 teachers, not having “opted out” were bound by the agreement. The employee organization had brought the grievance on their behalf (among others) and that part of the agreement (which provided the District would not reduce the number of teachers employed by the District) was to their benefit.

As to the argument that the agreement violated “unambiguous case law” regarding the recognition of transfer credit, the Commissioner ruled that teachers may waive their legal rights under situations such as this, and if done so on their behalf by the employee organization, it is binding upon them.

The expiration of the three-year term contemplated by the agreement did not alter the understanding reached as to transfer credit and the teachers could not now claim such credits as though the settlement had never been agreed to by the parties.

As a general rule, when an employee organization acts within its authority, all the persons it represents are bound by the results, unless individuals indicate, before the fact, that they do not intend to be bound by the results.

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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