Broward teachers and students win second arbitration
Broward high school teachers must be paid for teaching additional hour
By John Ristow
FORTLAUDERDALE, FL – For the second time in two months, another arbitrator has ruled in favor of Broward high school teachers whose instructional schedules were changed outside of the contract agreement between the Broward Teachers Union and School Board, forcing the instructional staff to teach a uniform six of seven schedules without additional compensation. Union leaders welcome the second victory for their members and students just one day before they continue discussions with district officials about how to resolve the matter on Aug. 16 at the K.C. Wright Administrative Building in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
BTU President Sharon Glickman, Esq., said she is pleased that Arbitrator Richard Zaiger ruled in favor of Broward’s teachers. Zaiger ordered the district to compensate all high school teachers who were required to teach a sixth period during the 2012-2013 school year.
“From the very beginning, our members have stood united against this violation of their contract because it hurts the education of our county’s students,” President Glickman said. “While we have filed grievances and now prevailed twice on behalf of our members and their students, we continue to be willing to meet with district officials to resolve this issue.”
Union leaders believe the second arbitrator’s ruling in favor of Broward teachers concerning their being forced to teach a six of seven instructional period schedules without additional pay strengthens the summer’s first arbitration ruling, which was also in favor of teachers and students. In the first arbitration ruling on June 26, 2013, Arbitrator David Weitzner stated, “The employer will immediately re-establish the high school schedules followed in each of the 29 high schools in the district to their 2011-2012 school year schedules including the preparation/conference periods in effect under the 2011-2012 school year schedules, and proceed as it would have had those schedules been in effect for the entire 2012-2013 school year.”
Superintendent Robert Runcie released a statement on July 3 stating the district would not honor the arbitrator’s ruling, which according to the teachers’ contract and Florida law is binding. The district asked that the ruling be negotiated during this summer’s contract talks. Union representatives responded that the arbitration ruling is binding; however, they agreed to have discussions with the school officials in an effort to help them implement the earlier ruling.
The union filed a lawsuit in Broward Circuit Court before Judge Eileen O’Connor on July 30 demanding that the first arbitration ruling be enforced by the courts.
“We will be meeting with district officials again tomorrow and urge all members to remain united around this issue. Our union wants what is best for our teachers and their students,” President Glickman said.