Mayor Dan Drew, the Board of Education and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 466 have announced one of two lawsuits between the city and the Board of Education has been dropped and the second is nearing resolution.
“The key goal here is to avoid litigation,” Drew said in a press conference last week in his office attended by Local 466 officers and Board of Ed leaders. “I’d say we’ve come to a resolution, we’re just working out exactly how to make sure everything is in the right order.”
The tenor of Wednesday’s meeting was more congenial than that of July 19, when former Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano announced he would file a court injunction to block the filling of the open central office business manager position.
He then accused the board of violating the city charter, personnel rules and the collective bargaining agreement with the city’s municipal union in filling the assistant payroll supervisor position.
The longstanding dispute continued Aug. 16, when the state’s Board of Labor Relations ordered the Board of Ed to reinstate a unionized central office position that the board has refused to fill since 2008.
“We’ve agreed to negotiate the solution together rather than taking that one through the court system,” Drew said Wednesday.
The key to successful compromise between the union, city and Board of Education, all in attendance stressed, is to keep communication open and focus on the goal of improving the working relationship between the union, city and Board — and avoiding conflicts of the past administration.
“We’ve agreed on the end game and we’re making sure that as we take steps to achieve those end goals that we’re doing that properly, which is why this is not happening overnight,” Drew said.
“I feel that we’re working hard to re-establish a collaborative relationship between the Board and the city that seeks to become more open, a bit more flexible with power to resolve the issues,” Nocera said.
The solution, the mayor said, is “responsive to the needs of the teachers, the students, members of the union, the public, the taxpayers, all of our city employees, and those are all very important and a critic piece to what were trying to do here,” Drew said.
The second issue, Drew explained, is the implementation of three arbitrated awards involving Local 466. “One of the awards was for two security guards and elementary school secretaries,” Daniels explained.
“We had a conflict of interest, it went to the state labor board and now the Board with open communication between Michael, Gene, Dan and union were able to take those awards and work them out and honor those awards so we can stop litigation on those also,” Daniels said.
On Nov. 28, Drew announced he had successfully negotiated a solution to the labor dispute that arose from Board of Education staff working at the Middletown High School shelter during October's snowstorm.