October 3, 2007

The Other Side of the Mediation in Tiverton

Justin Katz

Tiverton School Committee Vice Chairman Michael Burk offers the following response to some late night positioning from the NEA's spinner for Tiverton:

Yes, the School Committee did decide to go to arbitration — which by state law is not binding for financial issues but is binding on non-financial issues (most of the non-financials were settled long ago). We did this because it is clear to us that the NEA leadership does not live in the same fiscal reality as we do and they seem to think we can simply find money that isn't there to pay for what they want. The last proposal they gave us last night actually asked for a greater salary percentage increase than the one they gave us earlier in the evening — which in our eyes is bad faith bargaining.

The arbitration process allows the School Committee to consider recommendations made by the arbitration panel that are related to financial issues. However, if we still believe that we can't afford those recommendations, we can impose a contract for 1-year which does recognize
current fiscal realities.

There is one simple solution to all of this — the NEA leadership can acknowledge current reality, that funding their proposals on the backs of our property taxpayers is irrational and that we have the dollars we said we have to spend and not a penny more. Then we would be able to come to an agreement that is fair to our taxpayers, fair to our students, fair to our
parents and fair to our teachers.

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"NEA leadership does not live in the same fiscal reality as we do."

Well, that about says it all in a nutshell, doesn't it?

What a surprise that Ducky's little crying towel rant didn't mention that they've been bargaining in bad faith.

Posted by: Greg at October 3, 2007 7:45 PM

If Mr. Burk is sure of his position, he and the School Committee have the power to agree in advance that an arbitration award will be binding on all issues.

The School Committee has no power to impose a one year contract, so I am curious why he would say that.

Posted by: Bob Walsh at October 4, 2007 11:44 AM

Why would he cede any ground to you, Bob? You're already losing, on the ropes, and out of ideas. If I were him I'd go in for the killing blow, too.

Posted by: Greg at October 4, 2007 12:55 PM

Again Justin, I wish you would look at it critically. The economic reality is that the Union has made a number of cost saving proposals and they have been rejected. Here is a question for you to investigate... how much did the legal budget increase this year?

Another one for you... how much is Tiverton spending on their "Health Insurance Consultant?"

Another one, how much is the school committee paying their former business manager to participate in the negotiating at the same time as their NEW business manager?

As a Tiverton Taxpayer, you should be outraged at how they are wasting your money... and now they are going to waste even more in an arbitration that they don't believe they can win because they don't want it binding.

Posted by: Pat Crowley at October 4, 2007 7:40 PM

I love hearing a union guy feigning outrage over having too many high paid people on staff.

Posted by: Greg at October 5, 2007 7:51 AM
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