Delta Union Head Wants School Board To Honor Contract

Konrad and Konnor Hawkins were among those honored for their excellence in the classroom during the November board meeting.

Labor unrest appears to be lurking underneath the surface at Pike Delta York Schools.

This comes after the teachers’ union president read a letter imploring the Board of Education to follow the terms set forth in the contract.

Kathy Trowbridge said she came to the board for three reasons, one as the president of the union to maintain a peaceful bridge between the board and the teachers; asking the board to consider its position on the hiring of coaches and ask the board to honor their contract.

After coming close to striking in 1984, the union agreed to a no-strike clause and final and binding arbitration of disputes. Labor peace has held through many contracts over the years with the union making concessions, but being given benefits.

In the lean years, the union gave up wages in exchange for wording in contracts. One such exchange likely came when the teachers were give first crack at coaching jobs at a time of little or no pay increases.

The point of contention is the treatment of Stephanie Rayfield as a softball coach. In 2012, Rayfield reapplied for the post she had held for 10 years, but was passed over despite being recommended by the superintendent and the athletic director.

The union went through the four levels of the grievance process, but it took both the 2012 and 2013 seasons before an arbitrator ruled Rayfield should have been offered the job. She was granted lost wages, Trowbridge said.

In October 2013, Rayfield applied for the position for the 2014 season, but she was never given an interview. The union filed another grievance and again it took two seasons before an arbitrator ruled in Rayfield’s favor again.

The board went to court to vacate the ruling, but the judge reversed the decision instead. The union took the case to the Sixth Court of Appeals in Lucas County where it is being heard now.

The union president pleaded with the board to honor the language of the contracts and the arbitrator’s ruling. The arbitrators were approved by both sides.

“We have taken lower wages and freezes,” Trowbridge said. “The language of the contract states all extra duties must be approved by the board under recommendation of the superintendent.”

The reason the coaching jobs are so important is the contract language states teachers should be given priority on extra work.

Trowbridge then listed off schools within an 8-mile radius that paid more in salaries and paid coaches more.

In other news
The Pike Delta York Board of Education recognized several students for excellence in the classroom at its Nov. 30 meeting. From the October meeting Konnor and Konrad Hawkins were honored.

Other students for November included Darrent Hess (Elementary), Jaydyn Freidman (Middle School) and Rayleen Hutchinson (High School).

James Pruitt may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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