Friday, August 10, 2007

Teachers required to work during a hurricane?

That's the substance of the ULP (unfair labor practice) filed by USEP, the United School Employees of Pasco County, Florida. State law mandates school boards open their schools as emergency shelters in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster; the BOE is also required to staff them.

In the past few years, this has been done successfully using volunteers (who also get paid at their step schedule hourly rate) but the Superintendent wanted to send out a memo reminding all employees of the school system before summer break of their obligation to work at the shelters under state law and to get their emergency contact information should they be needed.

The union balked at this, saying that to do such a thing required negotiations and was not an automatic management right, and asked the Superintendent not to send out the memo. The use of volunteers (which has been thus far satisfactory) was established past practice. To call other teachers in to work would require a negotiated addition to the contract, which was not impossible, but the message was clear-- negotiations would have to happen first. The Supe sent the memo out anyway, irritated the union and now they've filed an ULP. This one should be interesting.

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