As I try to prepare for the coming union vote in British Columbia involving a contract negotiation failure, an imposed mediation process, and a potentially imposed contract within the next few months, I am reading over the documents submitted by the employer in order to anticipate what it is that contract may (will?) look like by the time we return to school in September of 2012, if not before.
This blog focusses on one item up for ‘mediation’/imposition; Posting and Filling, Employee Assignment and Transfer. This is the document submitted by BCPSEA on February 1, 2012 Revised Package and the link can be found on their website under the heading, BCPSEA Proposals.
The sections in this blog are captured from that document.
My first concern is the issue of seniority.
My first concern is that this contract will not be arrived at through collective bargaining. That is another blog post.
Back to Post and Fill. Here is a capture from the pdf;
Notice that seniority is not on the list unless the both candidates are equal in experience, qualifications, performance and …suitability. What does suitability determined by the principal mean? Is it quantifiable, like a degree, or years of experience, or a performance evaluation?
Actually, a lot of this is already subjective; does my 20 year experience as a humanities teacher count if I am up against a newly qualified math teacher if we are going for the same junior math job? Here’s a blog post on that, Gasp, A History teacher teaching Math!
Suitability, though, is particularly problematic. Here is a massive back door through which the administrator, or a more distant designate, can dodge in order to bypass teachers because….why? Here is where more extreme bias comes in to play. This worries me.
The point of a mutually agreed-upon process is that all parties feel protected and that the process is fair.
Here is the language from the current contract that exists for the District in which I teach:
Part Two: Let’s say that I go for that math job, but get passed over for not being suitable or experienced. What if I am not willing to roll over and take a different job (or no job).
There is the first capture of the procedure for resolution.
Notice that this is not a grievance. It has its own procedure. Notice that an adjudicator will be appointed and that the decision is binding, and shall never be discussed again. Notice that two possible adjudicators are named; some cursory research illustrates they are highly qualified individuals, which is something of a relief. Expensive, perhaps; this comes up later. Notice that the adjudicators don’t need to justify the decision in writing.
Notice that legal counsel is not allowed.
Notice that the parties shall share equally the costs of fees and expenses of the adjudicator. First of all, what kind of daily fee would that be? Would I have to pay for my flight to Vancouver, or pay for the flight of the adjudicator, the car rental, the mileage, the hotel?
How much would it cost me to try to get that math job, even if I ended up with the position in the end? Would I just lick my wounds and try to move on rather than take on the unknown expense?
Staring out the window at this gloriously beautiful spring day, I have a queasy feeling in my stomach. I guess I shouldn’t worry. I have 20 years of seniority, after all. Well, I have 20 years experience. Maybe my Master’s Degree would protect me.
Maybe, I should not press, Publish. Maybe I should put my head down and shut up. Or maybe not.