IS Mayor taking his frustration out on Kennedy and UTL? Why release Ex. Minutes now?

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I’ve speculated that it seems to me that the Mayor has made this School Committee’s inability to settle a contract with the UTL personal between he and the Union President and to help me prove my point he filed this motion on tonight’s School Committee Agenda.

Motion on today’s School Committee Agenda – 2015 / 454 [by Mayor Rodney Elliott]: School Committee vote to release minutes for Executive Session relative to union contract negotiations/grievances.

Now from what little I know about Executive Sessions and releasing of minutes, I believe that minutes do NOT have to be released until the matter is completed. Since there is no contract agreement in place even if they are at what he and others will call an IMPASSE according to the Official Website of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development the issue remains open.

Releasing one sided minutes that reflect just what members of one side discuss does not help anyone. If anything it just opens a larger divide and in view of the fact that 5 of the present members of this School Committee are ending their term this month the only thing the Mayor is doing is creating a harsher environment for the next Mayor and Committee to work with.

Is the Mayor taking out is frustration of not be allowed to serve another term and his inability to get this current committee and the UTL to get a contract done on the soon to be Mayor Kennedy and the incoming School Committee? It certainly gives the appearance of doing so.

There is NO valid reason other than to paint the UTL in a negative way and to create an even more hostile environment for contract negotiations for incoming Mayor Kennedy and the newly elected School Committee than this current committee voting to release these minutes before they leave office.

Whether they will acknowledge it or dispute it, it gives the appearance of just a political motivated move to make the UTL look greedy and to make things tougher on the incoming Committee. I hope Jim Leary – Connie Martin – Steve Gendron and Dave Conway see this for what it is and vote NO to this seemingly political stunt.

Will ALL COMMENTS MADE IN THESE SESSIONS INCLUDING SUPPOSED JOKES BY AN AUTHORITY FIGURE BE RELEASED? That one statement about no need for raises and family retirements alone could be viewed very negatively especially in view of the person allegedly making them.

Here is the information about a contract Impasse and the procedures and NO WHERE in this does it say the 2 sides can’t choose to reopen talks, in fact if you read the entire posting it states clearly – Normally, if the impasse continues after the publication of the fact-finder’s report, the issues in dispute go back to the parties for further bargaining.

Therefore the Original NEED for the Executive Session remains open and minutes are NOT required to be released.

IMPASSE–WHAT THEN?

What if the public employer and labor organization fail to reach an agreement on a new or successor collective bargaining agreement?

The law prohibits public employees from striking. It also prohibits public employers from unilaterally changing terms and conditions of employment. The Division of Labor Relations administers procedures for resolving collective bargaining impasses under the public employee collective bargaining law. These procedures comprise mediation, fact-finding and interest arbitration. Impasse resolution services for police and firefighters are provided by the Joint Labor-Management Committee (JLMC).

How does the mediation process work?

After a reasonable period of negotiation, the parties acting individually or jointly may petition the Division of Labor Relations for the determination of an impasse and the initiation of mediation. Upon receipt of this petition, the Division of Labor Relations commences an investigation to determine both if the parties have negotiated for a reasonable period of time and if an impasse exists.

Once an impasse is found, the Division appoints a mediator to assist the parties in reaching agreement. In some instances, the parties themselves agree upon a mediator.

Suppose the parties still cannot agree? Will a neutral third party be brought in to make findings of fact?

If the dispute survives the best efforts of the mediator, the mediator will recommend to the Division of Labor Relations that the case be certified to fact-finding when either or both parties have requested fact-finding.

A fact-finder will generally be selected from a list of fact-finders sent to the parties by the Division. If the parties cannot agree, the Division will appoint a fact-finder. The fact-finder’s primary responsibility is to preside at fact-finding hearings and issue a written report with recommendations for resolving all issues in dispute. The fact-finder has the authority to mediate the dispute at the request of both parties.

Within thirty days after the appointment, the fact-finder must submit his or her report to the parties and the Division. The recommendations contained in the report are advisory and do not bind the parties. If the impasse remains unresolved ten days after the receipt of the findings, the Division is required to make them public.

After the fact-finding procedure fails to resolve the dispute, what can the parties do?

Normally, if the impasse continues after the publication of the fact-finder’s report, the issues in dispute go back to the parties for further bargaining.

The law, however, allows the employer and employee organization to enter into arbitration of contract impasse issues, provided they both agree to do so. This voluntary interest arbitration binds the legislative body only in those cases where the legislative body has agreed in advance to be bound by the arbitrator’s award. The parties may agree to any form of arbitration that suits their interest.

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