Arbitrator favors school contract union says matches its offer NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

June 17, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

An arbitrator has recommended that the county school board agree to a contract the Carroll Association of School Employees says is identical to the proposal it made April 6, two weeks before the groups declared an impasse.

The union, which represents secretaries, instructional assistants and licensed practical nurses, and the Board of Education selected arbitrator Seymour Strongin of Chevy Chase and met with him June 8.

His recommendations, made in a report to both sides, are not binding. Both CASE and the Board of Education would have to agree to accept them as a contract.

However, William Hyde, the school system's assistant superintendent for administration, questioned the report's accuracy.

"We have reviewed the report and find there are a number of sections in it where it doesn't reflect our perception of what had occurred at certain points in time," Mr. Hyde said.

"So, our position is we're not going to comment on that now," he said.

Sharon Fischer, CASE's president, said she was encouraged by the report. She said the association has historically agreed to arbitrators' decisions.

"I felt that it reaffirmed the position on the issues we had, and that we did indeed have agreement April 6," Mrs. Fischer said.

Mr. Strongin's report, dated June 10, says attempts to mediate an agreement June 8 "were not successful, necessitating these findings and recommendations."

He recommended:

* Union withdrawal of its proposal to promote employees on a seniority basis when all other qualifications are equal.

* Board of Education withdrawal of its proposal to transfer instructional assistants according to seniority only within their specialty.

* A compromise on dismissal grievances similar to one the board dTC agreed to with one of the other school unions.

* Giving CASE the same benefits and salary package -- 3 percent increases each year for two years -- as other employee groups.

Mr. Strongin's report says that on April 6, the union had withdrawn its request to change the promotion language and the board had withdrawn its proposal to change the transfer language.

He wrote, however, that the board would not agree to the CASE proposal for a compromise on the dismissal language, but agreed to virtually the same proposal by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees the next evening.

The dismissal language surfaced this year because of a Maryland State Board of Education decision in Livers vs. Charles County Board of Education.

The state board ruled that dismissals may not go through the same arbitration process as other grievances, in which a third party may make a binding ruling.

AFSCME and the board agreed to reinstate the current contract language if the Livers decision is overturned in court.

Mr. Strongin recommended giving CASE the same guarantee.

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