The commitment of the Ottawa-Glandorf Schools, in partnership with our families and community, will provide superior educational opportunities for all children, to establish a foundation for a life of learning and personal success.

Negotiations FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

updated 9/24/2019

 Are the teachers working without a contract?

No. The teachers are working with a contract. The Negotiated Agreement between the Ottawa-Glandorf Local School District (“District”) Board of Education (“Board”) and the Ottawa- Glandorf Classroom Teachers Association (“Association”) has expired. However, under Ohio law, the terms of the Negotiated Agreement continue after expiration until a new agreement is reached.

Is the Board negotiating in good faith?

Yes. Both Ohio law and the Negotiated Agreement require the parties to negotiate in good faith. The Board would uphold that obligation, regardless of whether it was required by law or the Negotiated Agreement.

Why is the Board unable to give raises similar other local school districts?

The District’s state funding has increased by an average of .78% per year since 2014. That is three consecutive state budget cycles without a substantial increase in state funding, so while funding to the District has gone up less than 1% each year, the District’s health insurance costs have gone up by an average of 15.5% per year for the last five years. As stated in the latest edition of the Titan Tradition, and in articles on the District’s website, other school districts in Putnam County are also receiving substantially more money in their budgets in the form of Capacity Aid and Transitional Aid.

Another difference between the District and its neighboring districts is the employee contribution to insurance premiums paid by the staff at some of those neighboring districts. The employees in those districts agreed to pay 5% more of the premium toward their High Deductible Healthcare Plan (HDHP) than the Ottawa-Glandorf teachers. Applied to Ottawa-Glandorf, this difference in premium would free-up approximately $80,000. The District’s teachers contribute 7% of the premium toward the family plan HDHP offered by the Board. This means that teachers pay approximately $130 per month for their health plan, and the Board of Education contributes $3,000 per year toward an HSA account for each employee with a family plan, and $2,000 toward an HSA for an employee with a single plan.

When you combine the funding difference between our neighboring districts, and the employee contributions toward their health insurance premiums, it becomes very easy to see why the Ottawa- Glandorf Local School District is not able to offer similar pay increases.

Are teachers telling students that they will not be grading homework or submitting grades?

Some teachers have told students that they will not receive grades for homework and they will not receive other grades. This tactic is sometimes used by teachers’ unions to sway the students and parents to pressure the Board to settle the negotiations and agree to the Association’s demands. Teachers are expected to perform their job duties. Part of those duties is the grading of homework and the submission of student grades. Even if it was not part of their duties, it is wrong to use the students as a means of trying to pressure the Board to agree to the Association’s proposals.

Is it acceptable for the teachers to involve students in the negotiations process?

No. Teachers are to teach the students in the classroom, according to the curriculum and standards approved by the Board. While District residents, students, and staff are certainly impacted by and interested in the outcome of negotiations, is not appropriate for the teachers to involve the students in the negotiations process. Therefore, it is not appropriate for teachers to use precious class time to discuss the negotiations, rather than teaching children.

Is it acceptable for teachers to be distributing literature or any other items at school events asking for the public to support the Association during negotiations?

No. While teachers retain their free speech rights, those rights must be exercised in accordance with District Board Policy while on the job and while at District events. Board Policy 9700.01expressly states: “students, staff members and District facilities shall not be used for any commercial advertising or otherwise promoting the interests of any commercial, political, nonprofit or other non-school agency or organization, public or private, without the approval of the Board or its designee.” The Board of Education has not authorized the teachers to promote theAssociation or its collective bargaining interests by issuing flyers or literature to students or members of the public on District property. Violations of Board Policy can result in the implementation of disciplinary action.

When is the next meeting?

Collective bargaining between the Board and the Association is under the jurisdiction of a Federal Mediator. The Board cannot compel the Association to come to the bargaining table, and instead must rely on the Association to cooperate with the Federal Mediator in scheduling dates to bargain. Following the September 17, 2019 negotiations, the Board offered three dates of October 7, 14, and 16 to meet with the Association and the Federal Mediator again. Those dates were rejected by the Association, and the Board was not offered alternative dates.

The Board will attend any mediation session scheduled by the Federal Mediator and will continue bargaining in good faith. The Board hopes that the Association will do the same.

The Board received notice on 9/23/19 that the OGCTA had made a request to meet with the Federal Mediator on October 17, 2019.  The Board agreed to this date immediately.

Is money an issue in the negotiations?

Yes. It is an issue on both sides of the negotiating table. One of the common tactics used byteachers’ unions is to claim that money is not an issue in the negotiations. Money is definitely an issue in these negotiations.

Has the Board committed an “Unfair Labor Practice” against the Association?

No. The Association filed an unfair labor practice (“ULP”) with the State Employment RelationsBoard in January, 2019. SERB has not issued a definitive ruling on the matter, and it is presently under the jurisdiction of a SERB Mediator. The Association filed another ULP against the Board in June, 2019. SERB dismissed that ULP with prejudice for lack of probable cause to believe that ULP had been committed.

Has the Association committed a ULP against the Board?

The Board filed a ULP against the Association on July 23, 2019, in response to comments about collective bargaining made by Association President Nicole Ruhe, which were published in thePutnam County Sentinel. The Board alleges that Ms. Ruhe’s comments amount to “direct dealing”and bad faith bargaining in violation of R.C. 4117.11.(B)(3). The ULP Charge is currently pending before SERB.

What is “work-to-rule” and why are teachers doing it?

When teachers engage in “work-to-rule,” they are performing the absolute bare minimum of workthat is required of them under the terms of the Negotiated Agreement. For example, as soon as the contractual work day ends, teachers leave the premises in unison, rather than stick-around for a few extra minutes to help students, talk to parents, or plan with their administrators for the following school day. Some teachers do this to try to put additional pressure on the District’sadministration during collective bargaining. It is unfortunate that some District teachers have resorted to this tactic. However, the Board will not let the lack of cooperation from teachers harm the educational experience of the District’s students.

Where can I find a copy of the current Negotiated Agreement?

The Board’s current Negotiated Agreement with the Association is available on SERB’s website at: https://serb.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/serb/documents-and-decisions/collective-bargaining- agreements/collective-bargaining-agreements

 

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