Why is UTL the ONLY Union asked to negotiate in public?

I’m sure that the Lowell School Committee members and some of their supporters will be upset with me (then again who don’t I tick off) but why is it that each and every time it come to contract negotiations with the UTL and Paul Georges the School Committee seems intimated and can’t get a contract done without first asking for public negotiations then end up in mediation or it comes down to a last minute deal?

Why is it we have, to my recollection never heard a City Manager or City Council ask for, demand or even suggest to newspaper reporters, bloggers or radio host that Police, Fire or local 1705 negotiate in public or have contract negotiations in public?

I don’t recall the Greater Lowell Tech, Chelmsford or Dracut School Committees asking for public negotiations, why is it we always hear about a few Lowell School Committee members asking for public negotiations?

The only difference I see is UTL has Paul Georges an experienced long and strong Union President. Is Paul really that intimidating?

Remind me, was Kevin Murphy’s ” employment agreement” done in public? Was Supt. Jean Franco’s? Either the Two year one she agreed to that the committee reneged on or the one year one they settled on?

So why does the Committee want public negotiations? To embarrass the Union and Paul? To play for votes? To get the court of public opinion on their side against this big bad man and the union he represents?

On Facebook in response to my post yesterday, School Committee member Kim Scott posted the following apparently in support of the Mayors comments in yesterday’s SUN.

I completely disagree with you on the non-responsiveness of the committee. Also, a 1% raise for the teachers union is over $1,000,0000 and if Mr. George’s proposed 5% a year, then it would be over $5,00,0000. I have kids in the schools and I am a taxpayer as well. I believe negotiating in public would certainly eliminate a lot of the misinformation shared with media. Supt. Franco has many strong qualities and one of them is certainly her relationship with the unions.

Again a School Committee member publicly asking for negotiations to be held in public,this time claiming it would stop media “misinformation “.

Why don’t we see this with any other city Union except the teachers and we only see this with the School Committee?

If they can’t negotiate because they’re intimidated or upset by the supposed misinformation by the press,even though we haven’t seen it from other local districts, why doesn’t the Committee hire or select a “team” or committee (Manager, Lawyer and Supt) a month before the contract expires, set the rules and guidelines for them and let them negotiate without dragging it on for six months and whine about public negotiations when no other City Union is asked to settle their contract in public.

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5 thoughts on “Why is UTL the ONLY Union asked to negotiate in public?

  1. Kim Duggan Scott

    Gerry, who said the problem is with the Lowell School Committee negotiations team? We have a Superintendent that has good union relationships, a city manager who has negotiated union contracts for local unions, and our Attorney. Why does the lack of movement always fall back on the School Committee in your book? You only know what is made public. I believe the Mayor’s comments in the paper were a fair and accurate assessment.

    Reply
    1. Lowell Curmudgeon Post author

      Hmm IF the contract ran out in June which is a public fact and the Manager was just given the public ok by the City Council in January to be able to negotiate that 6 month lag time appears to indicate a lack of preparation and response by the School Committee.

      Unless you’re saying the Manager took part in talks before being declared eligible by the Council?

      Also my point yesterday is you (the committee) yanked an agreed upon contract off the table for the Supt. at the 11th hour in June and yet now have faith in her to negotiate a contract? She can’t run your district to your liking but we can exploit her ties to the teachers and use her? In the private sector a departing CEO doesn’t get nor would they be expected to do that.

      Finally to my original question today, Why is this the only Union asked to do Public negotiations?

      Reply
  2. Averell

    Personally, I believe that we need to replace several School Committee members, specifically those that have driven away the last 2 ( or is it 3) Superintendents. As for Mr. Georges, he is always asking for more, more, more, even when he knows other unions are getting very little because of the city finances.

    Reply
  3. Kim Duggan Scott

    What happened in closed session during those six months can’t be publicly discussed, right? Do you know how many offers were made or counteroffers made? As far as the Superintendent goes she is our one and only Superintendent until she retires June 1st.

    Reply
    1. Lowell Curmudgeon Post author

      No we have no idea, we can only comment on what we see in the paper or hear on the radio. The Union President is quoted as saying the entire Committee has only met once face to face with the Union. I don’t recall the School Committee informing the public at any meeting that they were abdicating their responsibility to negotiate a contract and assigning / empowering a sub-committee made up of the Manager, Supt. and Lawyer to negotiate a contract on their behalf. That would be allowed to and should be known to the public if that is the case. As far as I know and I’m only slightly more aware then the average voter / parent / taxpayer , the entire Committee are responsible for contract negotiations.

      Have I or the general public missed the vote, press release or open meeting discussion that stated the committee has voted to give the power to negotiate to an appointed sub-committee?

      Reply

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