2 unions settle with board Teachers, others still negotiating

April 07, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

The first contracts settled by the Carroll County Board of Education will give 3 percent raises this year and next to cafeteria workers and administrators and supervisors.

Two unions yesterday became the first to settle with the school board. Three more unions, including the teachers,' were to continue talks today and next week.

Most of the sticking points were on contract language rather than money for the unions still negotiating. While the board is seeking more administrative control on issues such as hiring and firing, the employees are resisting giving up any job security.

Also, the unions still negotiating have said they will not be rushed by the Board of Education's self-imposed deadline to complete negotiations by tomorrow morning.

The board will meet at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow to vote on a supplemental budget request to the county commissioners. The request will be to cover any raises negotiated up to that time.

Negotiators for the board have told unions that any raises negotiated after tomorrow may not be funded, which union leaders called a show of bad faith.

"April 8 is a totally arbitrary date," said Harold Fox, chief negotiator for the teachers. "In many cases, contracts are settled as late as the fall of the next year."

For teachers, the issues to be resolved are the amount of planning time, especially for elementary teachers, and the degree to which school-improvement teams, made up mostly of teachers, can overrule negotiated items.

In the past several years, the board has settled on the same salary increases for all unions. Yesterday, the board proposed the 3 percent raises to the Carroll Association of School Employees, which represents clerical workers, instructional assistants and licensed practical nurses.

The union agreed to 3 percent, but the two sides clashed on other proposals, especially one that would remove the right of a fired employee to get a third-party arbitrator to decide an appeal.

William Hyde, assistant superintendent for administration, said this issue was prompted by a recent case in Charles County in which a custodian was fired over drug charges that were later dropped.

The Maryland Board of Education ruled that the local school board did not have to defer to an arbitrator in issues of hiring and firing, Mr. Hyde said.

Steven Bittner, staff negotiator for CASE, the clerical union, said he would consider dropping the arbitration item in the contract now. But his condition was that it be put back if the courts or legislature overturn the state board's ruling. That was how Howard County school unions and school board resolved the issue this year, he said.

But Mr. Bittner's condition was rejected by Edwin Davis, director of pupil services and chief negotiator for the board with CASE. The two sides will meet next week.

As part of their settlement, cafeteria workers agreed to remove the arbitration issue, but it remained unresolved with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents custodial, maintenance and bus workers.

That union will continue to negotiate today. Other unresolved issues included whether bus drivers would be paid for hours they lose when weather causes school to be delayed or dismissed early.

Cafeteria workers and administrators also agreed to continued health insurance coverage, with the board paying 100 percent of the premium for individual coverage and 95 percent for dependents.

The past two years, school employees have received only incremental raises, which meant many veteran workers at the top of their scales got no raises. But in the four years prior, raises had ranged from 5 percent to 9 percent.

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