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Cafeteria Works Win Again In Court

This article appeared in the Bristol Press today. The original article can be read here.

BRISTOL — The Board of Education has been dealt another setback in its quest to outsource school cafeteria services as a judge denied an appeal to stay a state decision that the board must honor its agreement with 53 school cafeteria workers.

New Britain Superior Court Judge Carl Schuman denied the appeal of a 2014 ruling by the state Board of Labor Relations that the school board must honor its tentative agreement with the cafeteria workers’ union.

A request for maintaining the original temporary stay had been denied, so this was an appeal of the denial, said school board Chairman Larry Amara.

“We didn’t really lose anything,” he said. “We lost the appeal to keep the stay in place, but we’re in the same place we were before with the cafeteria.”

Amara said the school board is still appealing the original Board of Labor Relations decision, which will likely not be decided for six months to a year. In the meantime, the school board is in contract negotiations with the union local that represents the cafeteria workers, Local 2267, Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

“We’ve said all along that outsourcing is not in the interest of Bristol students, workers and taxpayers,” said Larry Dorman, spokesman for Council 4.

“So we are pleased with Judge Schuman’s decision and its validation of the underlying decision by the state Board of Labor Relations,” Dorman said. “We hope the Board of Education will work with us to continue improving services for the children rather than spending taxpayer dollars on fruitless legal appeals in pursuit of outsourcing.”

In May 2014, the school board voted 5-3, with its Republican majority prevailing, to sign a contract with Long Island-based Whitsons Culinary Group, after months of protests by parents and the cafeteria workers.

The school board had 60 days to void the contract, which then happened in the wake of the Board of Labor Relations’ decision that the school board had previously negotiated the tentative agreement with the union in bad faith.

Last August, Schuman had eliminated a stay of the Labor Relations decision, which the school board Republicans had hoped would allow them to go ahead with the outsourcing while awaiting the court’s final word.

Schuman had said then that the issue was not clear-cut and the court could not say which side was more likely to prevail.

“Tipping the balance” in opposition to the stay, he said, was the reality that the school board chose to enter into a contract with Whitsons “knowing that there was a possibility that it might lose” with the labor relations board and in the courts.

Schuman said school officials must “accept the consequences” of their choice to pursue legal action to overturn the labor panel’s ruling.

Susan Corica can be reached at (860) 584-0501 ext. 1802 or scorica@bristolpress.com.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

BFT Schedules 2 Meetings to Discuss New Contract

This week the BFT will conduct 2 meetings, both on Tuesday, to discuss the new contract and answer questions from members.

Tuesday 12/16/14 at 2:45 PM in the auditorium of BCHS (high school teachers)

Tuesday 12/16/14 at 3:45 PM in the auditorium at CHMS (middle school and elementary teachers)

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Arbitration Settlement Details and the 2015-18 Contract

On Saturday, December 6, the BFT and BOE attended a brief arbitration hearing and agreed upon a stipulated settlement of the 2015-18 contract. A complete copy of that contract can be found here BFT Contract 2015-18

For convenience, here is a salary comparison of the current school year side by side with the 2015-18 school years.

More details and a general membership meeting, including a Q and A session, will be arranged for next week. Below is a summary of the settlement details.

Duration

The contract will last for 3 years, from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2018.

Insurance

Bristol teachers will keep their current PPO insurance plan, with some changes to our contributions.

Currently teachers pay 16% cost share. That will increase to 18%, 19%, and 20% in each of the respective three school years.

Co-pays will also increase. Currently teachers pay $15. That cost will increase to $20 for a visit to a general physician, $40 for a specialist. Emergency room visits will be $100. More details of the health plan can be found on p.43 of the new contract.

Some perspective on this issue: Most districts in the state either have a high deductible health plan (HDHP) exclusively, or have it as an option. Most with it have at least $4000 out-of-pocket expenses, often with no BOE contribution. Each year fewer districts offer the PPO. Of those that still have a PPO, most are already paying 20% cost share. Cost share is the total actual insurance cost for an entire group, divided equally among them. It is not a percentage of your salary.

Salary

There will be a 3% increase to the salary each year. This amount allows for a full step increase in years 1 and 3. To more evenly distribute salary increases, a new step has been added. In 2015-16 it is step 11A. In subsequent years it is step 13. Please read the explanations of steps at the bottom of the A-1 salary schedule in the contract, starting on p.47.

Some perspective on Salary: Bristol continues to have almost half of its teachers on top step. A step increase absorbs almost 2% of any salary increase. We are mindful of helping our entire membership advance, both those on at the top step and those working their way up. Please use the salary comparison above to review your own circumstances within the new salary schedules.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Reading Survey for K-3 Teachers

In September the AFT CT informed educators that the rollout of the new Foundations of Reading survey required for K-3 teachers was being delayed. This was a result of joint efforts by AFT Connecticut and the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) to address a number of issues with implementation and application of the new survey.
For the past three months we have worked with the Malloy-Wyman Administration and the legislature to find solutions to members’ concerns. The State Department of Education (SDE) yesterday announced significant improvements that we advocated for, along with new window dates for administration.
SDE has established two survey administration windows for districts to choose from
  • January 20, 2015, through May 15, 2015; &
  • August 17, 2015, through September 11, 2015.
Key survey application protections and improvements include:
  • Discretion by local education agency, not SDE, for administration; 
  • Protection of anonymity for teachers;
  • Restriction of results from evaluations
  • Exemption from FOIA disclosure for results; &
  • Prohibition of certification consequences from results.
This update will be posted to the “Professional Development” page of the AFT CT website, where we have linked a practice survey and the Connecticut Foundations of Reading (CFOR) website.
We appreciate your trust and support as we worked to ensure the new survey did not put our member at unnecessary risk. Together, we showed what “solution-driven unionism” is all about.
More to come, and in solidarity, 
Melodie Peters
President, AFT Connecticut
Steve McKeever
First Vice-President, AFT Connecticut
Jean Morningstar
Second Vice-President, AFT Connecticut
Patti Fusco
Pre-K-12 Jurisdictional Vice-President, AFT Connecticut
 
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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Arbitration Settlement

At the arbitration hearing today, the BFT and BOE signed a stipulated agreement resolving the contract dispute. Details will be made available to teachers midweek once official copies of the agreement have been filed fulfilling certain legal requirements.

A letter explaining the details is being drafted, and a general membership meeting will be arranged for the week of December 8-12.

This web site will be updated in a few days with more info.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Cancelled – BFT Holiday Party

Due to a lack of members RSVPing, the BFT social committee has decided to cancel the Holiday Party that was scheduled for Saturday. We regret any inconvenience to members.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

BFT Holiday Party Details and RSVP

The BFT Holiday party is for BFT members and their children age 10 and under. It’s a day of games, crafts, food, and gifts!

This year will also have a special visit from Santa!

When: Saturday, December 6 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Where: Greene Hills K-8 School

How: Call 860 582-6732 to RSVP by December 1. A grab bag will be held – For each child attending, parents are asked to donate a gift of approximately $10 value for the grab bag.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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