Annapolis, Md. – The Maryland Public School Labor Relations Board (PSLRB) has approved the Teachers’ Association of Anne Arundel County’s Impasse request. Issues giving rise to impasse include the County’s insistence on adding one evening of unpaid work at the close of bargaining in July, which the County then increased to three unpaid days after TAAAC filed for impasse. AACPS, while recently publicly acknowledging overworked educators, nonetheless still demands work over and above teachers’ contractual obligations without the intent to pay for this additional time.
While the Impasse decision was pending with the PSLRB, AACPS inexplicably sent notice directly to Union members unilaterally raising the cost of health benefits by 1.5%. This action was coupled with an AACPS request to separate the teachers’ bargaining unit from other school unions in negotiations over health care.
TAAAC President Russell Leone pointed out that teachers have been asking for salary increases commensurate with their years of experience, for years. TAAAC members have been advocating for resolution of the decade-plus inequity while, at the table, the Board negotiators asked for the extra unpaid work.
“We shouldn’t be asked to give away our labor. The County Executive and Council provided sufficient funding for an agreement on wages, but AACPS is asking us to throw in a few days for free,” said Leone. “It’s just ludicrous. After all we’ve been asked to do over the past year-and-a-half, and the years of salary inequity, they want us to give up even more!”
TAAAC was also taken aback by the AACPS decision to increase healthcare costs, which would take more out of the pockets of educators. When asked for justification for the health care cost increase, the Board’s representative claimed the numbers were “proprietary” and refused to share the calculations with TAAAC. The Board made this change without negotiating with the union at all, announcing the attempted change directly to TAAAC members and bypassing the union, in violation of collective bargaining law.
“We refuse to allow them to push more and more costs onto our backs without justification or honest and clear assessment or reasoning,” said Leone. “Enough is enough.”
Impasse means that the teachers, the Board, and a third-party mediator must meet and attempt to resolve the issues. If that fails, the next step will be arbitration, where both groups cede their authority to an arbitrator who will make the final decision on the dispute.
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