School district drops charge vs. teachers union
Lake Tahoe Unified School District withdrew last week the charge filed against the South Tahoe Educators’ Association for alleged bad-faith bargaining practices in teacher contract negotiations.
The charge, filed with the Public Employment Relations Board in May, claimed that the Educators’ Association refused to meet with the district at the table.
LTUSD Superintendent Rich Alexander said the district withdrew the charge because the district believed the problem had been solved.
“Since we’re back in negotiations it didn’t make sense to continue with the charge,” he said.
Educators’ Association President Mike Patterson said the charge against the union was filed when the union sent the district a letter asking them to join in impasse.
“While we were waiting for them to respond to the letter, they filed the charge with PERB claiming we wouldn’t negotiate,” he said. “The reason we filed for impasse was because of the district’s regressive bargaining practices and, because of that, we felt we couldn’t trust them anymore.”
Patterson also said he believed the district dropped the charge because there was no merit to the complaint.
While the only charge against the union has been dropped, two charges against the district are still pending.
According to PERB’s regional attorney Robin Wesley, the two charges brought against the district also revolve around alleged bad-faith bargaining practices.
“One charge is still pending,” she said. “Part of the other charge has been dismissed and a complaint has been issued regarding the other part.”
Wesley said the dismissed portion of the charge, which claimed unlawful surveillance, didn’t meet the standard for violation in her opinion but is being appealed by the Educators’ Association. The complaint, which is about an unlawful unilateral change in a school calendar day from a half day to a full day, has been forwarded to an informal settlement conference. No date has been set for that meeting.
Patterson said some of the specifics of the charges brought against the district include the transfer of teachers’ work to classified staff, interception of confidential union mail and bad-faith bargaining practices by rescinding on agreements made at the bargaining table.
Since filing impasse in May, the two sides have met on two occasions with a state-appointed mediator. The meetings resulted in offers made by both parties but no settlement has been reached.
The 296 teachers in the district are seeking a salary increase and have been working under the terms and conditions of their expired contracts since July 1998.
Both parties said they want negotiations to continue but are waiting for the mediator to set the date. That date has not yet been determined.
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