June 10, 2011

Man Bites Dog: School Committee Sues Teachers Union

Monique Chartier

I don't fully understand the basis of the lawsuit; explications welcome. But this is a refreshing turnabout in a state where public labor lawsuits against elected bodies are filed, seemingly, as easily as shop grievances.

Portsmouth officials have filed suit against the town's teacher's union seeking to eliminate seniority as a factor in personnel decisions, including layoffs.

The suit, filed in Providence County Superior Court, asks the court to declare that the Portsmouth School Department's staffing policy is not subject to collective bargaining.

It states that a seniority dominated system ignores teacher effectiveness and student need.

You will be shocked, SHOCKED, to hear that the NEA is framing the discarding of seniority as an attack on labor, not as a change for the benefit of the students.

Susan Hatch, the National Education Association-Portsmouth's vice president, tells the Newport Daily News the lawsuit misrepresents the union's contract with the city and is an attempt to circumvent collective bargaining.
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It sounds like a declaratory judgment lawsuit in anticipation of being sued by the union.

Posted by: Dan at June 10, 2011 4:33 PM

Labor exists for the benefit of labor not the children...the union will fight to the bitter end...do you think they should just lay down...do you think they are there for the "good of the children" yeah right...

Posted by: Robert Young at June 10, 2011 4:49 PM

They must be on DEFCON 1 over at 99 Bald Hill. I'll give Portsmouth credit for being proactive.

Posted by: Max Diesel at June 10, 2011 9:14 PM

The Portsmouth school committee implemented a new personnel policy that based teacher assignments on qualifications as opposed to seniority; the union contended that the policy needs to be negotiated and filed a complaint with the labor relations board. The committee is seeking injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that 1. They have a management responsibility to assign teachers based on student need and 2. That case law grants this right and therefore the labor board lacks jurisdiction.

Posted by: Timothy Duffy at June 10, 2011 9:25 PM
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