Randy Cerveny, president of the Harford County Education Association, sent the following e-mail to members on the status of labor negotiations for the current school year and a hearing held Friday before the Maryland Public School Labor Relations Board. A copy was provided to The Dagger for publication:
The Public School Labor Relations Board (PSLRB) convened a hearing in its first case since its formation.
In January, HCEA and HCPS negotiated and ratified an agreement for the 2011-12 school year that gave teachers a 3% COLA and 1.5 steps. This agreement was not funded by the County Executive.
Both parties returned to the table to address the financial aspects of the agreement. HCPS maintained that due to lack of funding by the County, no financial settlement could be reached even as small as a one time payment that would not be placed on the salary schedule.
HCEA filed a complaint with the newly formed PSLRB accusing HCPS of not bargaining in good faith and asked that they declare impasse. The PSLRB ruled that the school system did not follow the principals of good faith bargaining during renegotiations. They stated that the parties must return to the bargaining table to renegotiate. This renegotiation would take place after the PSLRB determined the amount of money that must be considered.
On Friday December 16, the PSLRB brought HCEA and HCPS together, to hear testimony about this case. Oral arguments were presented by attorneys for each side during which time the PSLRB asked for clarification on issues in this case.
At the end of the proceedings Seymour Strongin, the PSLRB chair, stated that the Board will review the testimony that had been recorded, discuss the case and issue a ruling. Both sides were strongly encouraged by Strongin to return to the table in an attempt to reach a settlement prior to the release of the Board’s decision.
Strongin told HCPS that, “any settlement must include an irrevocable commitment to fund that settlement.” No timeline was given as to when PSLRB will issue their decision, but we expect that it will be issued within 30 days.