Following the report by The O’Zone regarding the arbitration decision in the case of Jonathan Jacobson, the results of another case have come to our attention.
On September 29, 2011, Timothy Bornstein, Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association rendered a decision in AAA Case 11 390 01501 10, A Salary Schedule Grievance between the Southbridge Education Association and the Southbridge Public Schools.
The core of the dispute related to the contract provisions for the second and third years of the 2009-2012 teachers contract.
The Southbridge Education Association (SEA) maintained that in years two and three of the contract that they were to receive a 1% salary increase while having one professional development day deleted from their schedule with no reduction in pay.
The school administration maintained that it had been agreed that in years two and three there would be a 1% salary increase and that one professional development day would be deleted from their schedule and that the teachers would not be paid for that day.
The decision of the arbitrator was as follows:
“The agreed-upon salary schedules for the second and third years of the collective bargaining agreement shall be shall be the same as the base salary for the first year of the 2009-2012 contract, increased by one percent.
In the second and third years of the 2009-2012 contract, one August professional development day shall be deleted from the contract, without a reduction in salary.”
In essence the arbitrator upheld the position of the SEA. It is estimated that this decision carries a cost in the vicinity of $100,000 in years two and three of the contract.
Subsequently the Southbridge School Committee requested that the SEA reject the arbitration decision.
In a strongly worded response dated October 24, 2011, SEA President David Williams took the administration to task. That letter said in part, “Stating that without us agreeing to refuse compensation would mean a layoff of our members goes beyond contempt. It was the school committee that put the District in this position! Throughout this whole process, the School Committee refused all our attempts to cooperate and made none of your own. It is only after the arbitrator’s ruling that you are in anyway concerned about money being spent. How much did you spend in lawyer fees fighting us while we were offering a way for the District to keep all the compensation? The words that describe your actions should not be used in professional communications.”
The copy of the decision was provided to The O’Zone following opinions to the releasing authority by both the American Arbitration Association and the Massachusetts Teacher’s Association that such reports became public documents ten days after their issuance.