QUOLKE’S CORNER 7/13/11

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QUOLKE’S CORNER #100
RECALL OF NEW TECH TEACHERS
The Board of Education held a special Board Meeting last night. One of the main purposes was to approve a contract for Eric Gordon. One of the other pieces of Board business (that was not on the agenda and was added as the last piece of business) was to recall teachers from the two New Tech schools. There is a New Tech school at Garrett Morgan and one at East Tech. The recall of these 4 members was done outside of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, so yes there are members with more seniority that were not called back. The reason given for calling back these 4 specific members is that they have gone to specified training (out-of-state) for their program and have specialized skills.
In 2005, the CTU and CMSD went to arbitration regarding lay-offs in the Career Tech area. The Grievance was as follows:
Article(s) of the Union Board Agreement involved: Article 19 and any other articles that apply.
Statement of Grievance: Teachers in Career Tech were laid-off by job title and program without regard for limited or continuing contract status or certification.
Relief Sought: Teachers incorrectly laid-off be returned to the classroom and any other remedy to make the grievant whole.
The Arbitrator wrote in his opinion that the questions to be resolved were: Did the District properly lay-off employees in the Career and Technical Department; and if not, what should the remedy be?
At the time the District and the Union agreed to implement a new program which was called Oracle. The teachers that taught Oracle had very specialized training (in Oracle) and were the only ones in the District that could teach Oracle classes. If the Oracle trained teachers could not be called back then there would not be able to be an Oracle program and the funding for this program would be rescinded. Oracle was as part of Career Tech.
In the Arbitrator’s ruling, the Arbitrator found “…The Grievance is sustained; the improperly laid-off employees are to be made whole; the District is ordered to compile the complete lay-off and recall lists; the parties are ordered to enter negotiations over the identified issues; and the Grievance is denied as it applies to Oracle Classes.” This means that the improperly laid-off members were recalled and made whole, but that the teachers that taught Oracle were able to retain their positions, even if they had less seniority, because of how specialized the training is.
I bring all of this up because that Arbitration Ruling is what the District is using to justify recalling the 4 New Tech teachers without regard to seniority. I am angry with the District with this for many reasons. Once again, they have placed the CTU in a reactionary position. Peter Raskind referenced this Arbitration to me in April.  At that time, the District wanted to apply the Oracle ruling to all the MOU schools, even though the circumstances were completely different. Then, Raskind told me that their Attorney would contact our Attorney to share his legal opinion. Our Attorney tried unsuccessfully to get anything from their Attorney on this matter. For a while we assumed that they had changed their minds and realized that this ruling and the current situation are not the same. Just last week the District’s Attorney contacted our Attorney and tried to schedule a meeting – of course at a time convenient for him, but not available for the CTU Representatives who have been working with the District on the MOUs.  Not that we would have agreed; but, this District needs to stop doing everything at the last minute and forcing all sides to be reactionary instead of proactive.
This is the very type of issue that could begin to divide our members. I want all members to be recalled. I want these 4 members recalled; and the teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, and social workers from all of the neighborhood schools and innovative schools recalled. How can we place more value on one teacher than another? We cannot let this issue divide us. Had the District worked with us last April, perhaps we could have worked through the situation in a collaborative way. Now, there’s no time to address whether the facts at New Tech are sufficient to meet the Oracle standard. As a result, the District is going to move forward with these 4 recalls and we are going to move forward with a grievance.    
This summer has certainly gotten off to a shaky start. With the naming of Eric Gordon as CEO, we can only hope that this same old “business as usual” approach will end soon . While the District’s shortcomings maybe out of our control, everyone can be assured that the time, energy and passion CTU and our members continue to demonstrate on Senate Bill 5 activities, will be equally shown on recalling our members and resolving these grievances. 
In Union,
David