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CSBLR Summaries of Board Decisions - TNA (School Board Teacher Negotiations Act)

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TNA OUTLINE – SUMMARY OF BOARD DECISIONS - JANUARY 1, 1990 – DECEMBER 1, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. DECLARATORY RULINGS
     
  2. PROHIBITED PRACTICES – EMPLOYERS
     
    1. DISCRIMINATION, RETALIATION, DIRECT DEALING
       
    2. REFUSING TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH
       
      1. FAILURE TO COMPLY W/SETTLEMENTS
         
      2. IMPACT BARGAINING
         
      3. REPUDIATION
         
      4. SUB-CONTRACTING
         
      5. UNILATERAL CHANGE
         
      6. OTHER
         
  3. PROHIBITED PRACTICES – UNIONS
     
    1. DUTY OF FAIR REPRESENTATION
       
    2. REFUSING TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH 
       
  4. MISCELLANEOUS 

  1. DECLARATORY RULINGS

    Shepaug Valley Regional School District #12 Board of Education, Decision No. 3677 (4/1/99):  The School Board filed a petition for a scope of bargaining determination as to whether the Union's salary proposals were a mandatory subject of bargaining. The parties' ground rules for negotiations established a date for exchange of proposals, and an agreement that no new proposals would be introduced after that date. On the day that the proposals were exchanged, the School Board's negotiating team realized that the Union had failed to include wage proposals. Despite the fact that it appeared to be an inadvertent error and that the Union's negotiators were still in the building, the School Board did not notify the Union of the error. The School Board then took the position that the Union was precluded from introducing any wage proposals. The Labor Board concluded that the Union's wage proposal constituted a mandatory subject of bargaining.

    Greenwich Board of Education, Decision No. 3141 (9/28/93):  The Association filed a petition seeking to determine whether a portion of the collective bargaining agreement which instructed teachers to attempt to either be relieved or postpone jury duty during the school year was an illegal subject of bargaining.  The Labor Board concluded that the portion of the collective bargaining agreement which required teachers to evade or postpone jury duty did constitute an illegal subject of bargaining and was illegal and unenforceable.

    Connecticut Education Association, Decision No. 2758-A (3/15/91):  The Association filed a petition seeking a determination regarding the scope of bargaining over time and location of continuing education units.  The Labor Board found that “time and location for scheduling professional development activities which count toward CEUI credit are permissive subjects of bargaining, having been removed from the scope of mandatory bargaining by statute.  To the extent that attendance at professional development activities is a mandatory subject of negotiations pursuant to P.A. 87-250 which provides for bargaining over teacher non-student contact work time, it is a mandatory subject of bargaining.  To the extent it does not involve non-student contact work time, it is a permissive subject of bargaining. “  Providing professional development in excess of the number of hours required by statute is a permissive subject of bargaining.  Providing less professional development than required by statute is an illegal subject of bargaining.  Alternate CEU activities are a permissive subject of bargaining.

    Portland Board of Education,
    Decision No. 2802 (5/17/90):  The School Board filed a petition seeking to determine whether a provision of the collective bargaining agreement constituted an illegal parity clause.  The Clause in question stated:  “Administrators will not be paid less than the per diem rate for the 17th step 6th year of the teacher administrative work year of 227 days.”  The Labor Board found the provision to be an illegal parity clause.  [Appeal dismissed, Portland Association of School Administrators v. CSBLR, CV 379648 (12/16/91, McWeeny, R.)]

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  1. PROHIBITED PRACTICES – EMPLOYERS
     
    1. DISCRIMINATION, RETALIATION, DIRECT DEALING

      Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-153e (b)  The local or regional board of education or its representatives or agents are prohibited from:  (1) Interfering, restraining or coercing certified professional employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in sections 10-153a to 10-153n; (2) dominating or interfering with the formation, existence or administration of any employees’ bargaining agent or representative; (3) discharging or otherwise discriminating against or for any certified professional employee because such employee has signed or filed any affidavit, petition or complaint under said sections;

      Brookfield Board of Education,
      Decision No. 4031 (3/16/05):  The Labor Board found that a school principal violated the TNA by questioning an Association member about a meeting and admonishing the member for comments made during the Association meeting.  The Labor Board found that the circumstances of the case did not warrant the award of fees and costs.

      New Britain Board of Education, Decision No. 3394 (5/6/96):  Board issued Consent Order, ordering New Britain Board of Education to cease and desist from restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights under Section 10-153a, et. seq.

      Hartford Board of Education
      , Decision No. 3357 (1/22/96):  Several Unions filed complaints alleging that the School Board had interfered with the Unions and dealt directly with employees when the School Board sent to each employee a letter setting forth the School Board's anticipated budget shortfall and indicating that a layoff might be necessary if the employees did not give up some of their anticipated increases. The Labor Board dismissed the complaint finding that the letter did not restrain or coerce employees nor bypass the bargaining agent.

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    2. REFUSING TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH

      Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-153e (b)  The local or regional board of education or its representatives or agents are prohibited from:  (4) refusing to negotiate in good faith with the employees’ bargaining agent or representative which has been designated or elected as the exclusive representative in an appropriate unit in accordance with the provisions of said sections; or (5) refusing to participate in good faith in mediation or arbitration.
       
      1. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH A SETTLEMENT

        Hartford Board of Trustees, Decision No. 3871 (6/21/02):  The Union alleged the employer failed to comply with a settlement agreement regarding the filling of three coaching positions.  The Labor Board found the language of the successor collective bargaining agreement superseded the terms of the grievance settlement agreement and dismissed the complaint.
         
      2. IMPACT BARGAINING

        Bloomfield Board of Education,
        Decision No. 2821 (7/3/90)
        :  The Association alleged the School Board violated the Act when it refused to negotiate the impact of increasing teacher –student contact time by one hour on fifteen teaching days without relieving the administrative workload previously accomplished during non-student contact time.  The Labor Board found the impact of this change was not de minimus and “impinged sufficiently upon working conditions so as to require negotiations over mandatory subjects of bargaining.”

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      3. REPUDIATION

        Stamford Board of Education, Decision No. 3572 (2/18/98):  The Employer attempted to reject an interest arbitration award, but the State Department of Education refused to appoint a second review panel. The Employer appealed. While the appeal was pending, the Union claimed that the Employer had an obligation to implement wage increases based upon the Employer's last best offers, on the theory that even if the Employer succeeded in obtaining a second panel review, the arbitrator would have to choose between the parties' last best offers. The Labor Board found that although the Employer would eventually be required to pay a salary increase, there was no obligation to do so pending the outcome of litigation.

        Hartford Board of Education, Decision No. 3453 (11/15/96):  The Union alleged that the School Board’s attorney engaged in bad faith bargaining by changing a proposal in arbitration concerning accumulation of sick days and misleading the arbitration panel as to the intent of the offer. The Union also alleged that the School Board was bound by the comments of its attorney concerning the effect of its sick leave proposal and that its failure to abide by the comments constitutes repudiation of the contract. The Labor Board dismissed finding that the comments of the attorney were not intentionally misleading and that there was no repudiation of contract because the arbitration award was clear in its deletion of certain contract language.

        Town of Hamden,
        Decision No. 3426 (7/30/96):   Union complained that School Board repudiated collective bargaining agreement by pro rating the pay of administrators after July 1, 1995. The School Board defended on the grounds that it was following past practice. The Labor Board determined that the clear language of the 1995-1997 collective bargaining agreement discontinued pro rated pay of administrators and therefore, the School Board repudiated the contract by continuing pro rated pay.

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      4. SUB-CONTRACTING

        Torrington Board of Education and Education Connection, Decision No. 3726 (9/2/99):   The Union alleged that the School Board unlawfully subcontracted bargaining unit work to a regional educational service center, Education Connection, to provide an alternative learning program for certain students. The Labor Board concluded that the Union failed to establish that the subcontracting at issue varied significantly in kind or degree from what was customary under past established practice. The School Board had in the past subcontracted a variety of programs and services. Although the Labor Board dismissed the case for failure to establish a prima facie case, it noted that there were compelling public policy arguments raised by the parties. [Appeal dismissed, Torrington Education Association v. State Board of Labor Relations et al, CV99-498478 (J.D. New Britain, 12/18/00, Satter, JTR):  The Labor Board had dismissed the Union’s complaint alleging that the School Board had violated the Act when it contracted with a regional educational service center to provide alternative educational opportunities for forty troubled and/or expelled students (No. 3726). The court dismissed the Union’s appeal, finding that the Labor Board had correctly concluded that the Union had failed to establish that the subcontracting at issue varied significantly in kind or degree from the past practice of utilizing various outside programs to provide special educational services.]

        Derby Board of Education, Decision No. 3450 (11/6/96):  Union alleged that School Board violated the Act by eliminating the position of Director of Instruction and reassigning certain of the position’s duties to non-bargaining unit personnel including the Superintendent. The Labor Board dismissed finding that the duties of the Director of Instruction had been shared substantially with non-bargaining unit personnel prior to the elimination of the position. [Appeal dismissed, Derby Administrators’ Association v. Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations and Derby Board of Education, CV97-566777 (J.D. Hartford/New Britain at Hartford, 10/1/97, McWeeny, J.) The Labor Board dismissed the Union's complaint that the Employer had illegally reassigned bargaining unit work by finding that the work in question had been historically shared with the Superintendent of Schools (Decision No. 3450). The Union challenged this conclusion on public policy grounds because the Superintendent was not a public employee subject to the provisions of the TNA and therefore should not have been considered in the shared work analysis. The court dismissed the appeal.]

        Hartford Board of Education, Decision No. 3423 (7/24/96):   Two Unions filed complaints alleging that Hartford Board of Education unilaterally subcontracted bargaining unit work and repudiated collective bargaining agreements by entering into an agreement with Education Alternatives Inc. for management of the Hartford school system. The question before the Labor Board was limited to whether the EAI contract, on its face, constituted violations of the TNA. The Labor Board dismissed the complaints finding that the EAI contract did not plainly contain any provisions which could be construed to subcontract bargaining unit work or repudiate the collective bargaining agreements. [Appeal dismissed, Hartford Principals and Supervisors Association v. Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations et al., CV96-563733 (J.D. New Haven at New Haven, 1/6/98, Cohn, J.)  This case involved the Hartford teachers' union challenge to the City of Hartford's contract with Education Alternatives, Inc. ("EAI"). The Labor Board had dismissed the Union's complaint (Decision No. 3423), but by the time the appeal was heard the Hartford Board of Education had terminated the contract with EAI. The court dismissed the appeal on grounds of mootness.]

        Killingly Board of Education, Decision No. 3358 (1/25/96): 
        Union alleged that School Board unlawfully subcontracted the work of high school basketball coach when it chose to fill position with someone from outside the bargaining unit. Labor Board dismissed finding that no valid claim of subcontracting could be made because the contract clearly placed sole responsibility for choosing a candidate with the Employer.

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      5. UNILATERAL CHANGE

        Seymour Board of Education, Decision No. 4071 (8/18/05):  The Association alleged the School Board violated the Act when it unilaterally eliminated twenty days worked by a school psychologist outside of the regular school year.  The Labor Board found these twenty days constituted hours of work not falling within any statutory exception and therefore a mandatory subject of bargaining.  [Appeal Pending]

        Bloomfield Board of Education, Decision No. 3130 (8/10/93): 
        The Association alleged the School Board unilaterally changed the conditions of employment for vice-principals when it eliminated a vice-principal position and reassigned the work to other bargaining unit members.  The Labor Board found the shifted duties fell within the job description of the remaining bargaining unit members and that it was an inherent management right to eliminate the position.  The Labor Board noted that the Association had not framed its case in terms of the separate issues of increased work load or job duties and rather, focused on the elimination of the bargaining unit position. The Labor Board dismissed the complaint.

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      6. OTHER

        Griswold Board of Education, Decision No. 3786 (8/24/00):  The Union alleged that the School Board offered a Prescription Drug Rider (PDR) to bargaining unit members in an effort to induce them to change insurance plans, and then failed to implement the PDR. The evidence revealed some confusion about what the employees thought was being offered, but the Labor Board found the testimony of the School Board’s witnesses more credible and concluded that the PDR was not affirmatively offered as part of the new insurance plan. Therefore, the refusal to implement a provision that was not agreed upon did not violate the Act.

        Shepaug Valley Regional School District #12 Board of Education, Decision No. 3722 (8/19/99):   The parties’ ground rules for negotiations established a date for exchange of proposals, and an agreement that no new proposals would be introduced after that date. On the day that the proposals were exchanged, the School Board’s negotiating team realized that the Union had failed to make any wage proposals. The School Board did not notify the Union of the error until the deadline had expired. The School Board then took the position that the Union was precluded from introducing any wage proposals. In its ruling on the School Board’s scope of bargaining determination, the Labor Board concluded that the Union’s wage proposal constituted a mandatory subject of bargaining. The School Board alleged that the Union had failed to bargain in good faith by refusing to negotiate other issues unless and until the School Board agreed to negotiate wages. The Union charged in a cross complaint that the School Board had failed to bargain in good faith by refusing to negotiate wages. The Labor Board dismissed both complaints. Although finding that technically the School Board was within its rights to challenge the Union’s ability to make wage proposals under these circumstances, the Labor Board noted that it did not condone such an approach to the bargaining relationship.

        Somers Board of Education, Decision No. 3597 (5/7/98):  The Union alleged that the Employer had failed to bargain in good faith by insisting that negotiations take place in the public domain, in contravention of the Union’s proposed ground rule limiting publicity during successor contract negotiations. The Union also claimed that the Employer had improperly cancelled a negotiation session and tried to reschedule it at a time when members of the Union negotiating committee could not be present. The Labor Board noted that as reasonable ground rules involving publicity are mandatory subjects of bargaining, a party has the right to insist on its position to the point of impasse without violating the TNA. In addition, the Labor Board did not find that the School Board bargained in bad faith by canceling a negotiation session near the end of the statutory negotiation period, noting that the Union’s delay in responding may have been partially responsible for the parties’ failure to establish another date before arbitration was imposed.

        Hartford Board of Education, Decision No. 3453 (11/15/96):  The Union alleged that the School Board’s attorney engaged in bad faith bargaining by changing a proposal in arbitration concerning accumulation of sick days and misleading the arbitration panel as to the intent of the offer. The Union also alleged that the School Board was bound by the comments of its attorney concerning the effect of its sick leave proposal and that its failure to abide by the comments constitutes repudiation of the contract. The Labor Board dismissed finding that the comments of the attorney were not intentionally misleading and that there was no repudiation of contract because the arbitration award was clear in its deletion of certain contract language.

        Bloomfield Board of Education,
        Decision No. 2832 (8/3/90):   The Association alleged the School Board refused to bargain over the scheduling of non-student, teacher work days.  The Labor Board found this subject of bargaining was mandatory and ordered the School Board to negotiate.

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  1. PROHIBITED PRACTICES – UNIONS
     
    1. DISCRIMINATION; DUTY OF FAIR REPRESENTATION

      Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-153e (c)  Any organization of certified professional employees or its agents is prohibited from:  (1) Interfering, restraining or coercing (A) certified professional employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in this section and sections 10-153a to 10-153c, inclusive, provided that this shall not impair the right of an employees’ bargaining agent or representative to prescribe its own rules with respect to acquisition or retention of membership provided such rules are not discriminatory and (B) a board of education in the selection of its representatives or agents; (2) discriminating against or for any certified professional employee because such employee has signed or filed any affidavit, petition or complaint under said sections; (3) breaching its duty of fair representation pursuant to section 10-153a;

      School Administrators of Waterbury, Decision No. 4091 (10/14/05):  The individual Union member filed a complaint alleging the Union violated the Act by breaching its duty of fair representation when it agreed to resolve a grievance and the settlement provided varying monetary amounts to affected bargaining unit members.  The Labor Board found the Union exceeded the minimum requirements imposed by its statutory obligation and dismissed the complaint.

      Anthony Parente and Hamden Education Association, Decision No. 3974 (5/17/04):  The individual Union member filed a complaint alleging that the Union had violated its duty of fair representation by breaching its own bylaws when it submitted an unratified agreement to an interest arbitration panel.  The agreement negatively impacted the Complainant’s retirement health care benefits.  The Labor Board found that even if the Association violated its own bylaws, its conduct did not rise to the level of a violation of its duty.

      A.C.E.S. Education Association (Krajewski), Decision No. 3329 (8/2/95): 
      Complainant alleged that Union deprived her of arbitration because she elected to pay a service fee; allowed and/or caused the Employer to discriminate against her; and failed to enforce contract terms. Labor Board dismissed finding that the Union had taken its actions after assessment of the merits of Complainant's case. 

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    2. REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH

      Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-153e (c)  Any organization of certified professional employees or its agents is prohibited from:  (4) refusing to negotiate in good faith with the employing board of education, if such organization has been designated or elected as the exclusive representative in an appropriate unit; (5) refusing to participate in good faith in mediation or arbitration; or (6) soliciting or advocating support from public school students for activities of certified professional employees or organizations of such employees.

      Somers Board of Education
      , Decision No. 3597 (5/7/98):  The Board of Education filed a complaint alleging that the Union had failed to bargain in good faith during successor contract negotiations by insisting on ground rules governing the publicity of negotiating sessions and by failing to submit contract proposals. The Labor Board concluded that because reasonable ground rules governing publicity are mandatory subjects of bargaining, the Union had the right to insist on its position to impasse. Because the parties spent the entire statutory negotiating period on ground rules, the Union’s failure to present substantive contract proposals during the negotiation period did not constitute bad faith bargaining.

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  1. MISCELLANEOUS

    Connecticut Education Association, Decision No. 3913 (4/10/03):  The Complainant failed to appear at hearing after appropriate notice and the Labor Board dismissed the complaint.

    East Lyme Board of Education, Decision No. 3854 (1/18/02): is alleging that the Board of Education had unlawfully discriminated and retaliated against certain bargaining unit members for engaging in protected activity. The Board of Education filed Motions to Dismiss the complaints, arguing that the Labor Board lacked jurisdiction because the same employees had related civil actions pending in the Superior Court. The Labor Board denied the Motions to Dismiss and retained jurisdiction over the complaints, but deferred further administrative action until the civil actions were concluded.

    Connecticut Education Association
    , Decision No. 3689 (4/28/99);  Connecticut Education Association, Decision No. 3689-A (9/15/99):   The Labor Board dismissed the complaint filed by the Complainant against her union, alleging a breach of the duty of fair representation, because the events giving rise to the complaint occurred prior to the effective date of Public Act 93-426. The Public Act imposed for the first time the duty of fair representation on unions representing teachers and administrators under the Teacher Negotiation Act. The Labor Board determined that the Public Act did not have retroactive effect. The Labor Board affirmed its decision on the Complainant’s subsequent Petition for Reconsideration (Decision No. 3689-A).

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