The Ohio State Employee Relations Board (SERB) has ruled in favor of the Springboro teachers union in an unfair labor practice dispute.
At issue was the union’s allegation that the board violated contract negotiations by issuing press releases and publicizing the original proposed agreement. The board posted the original contract proposal and issued press releases about attempts to call for early negotiations.
The ruling Thursday came as the board and union representing teachers and other certified staff apparently remained far apartthree days before existing agreements expire, on June 30. The two sides have agreed to meet again on July 10.
“That’s kind of the 11th hour,” Board Member Don Miller said this week.
On Friday, the state teachers union, the Ohio Education Association (OEA) issued a release on the state ruling, which found probable cause there had been a violation of state labor relations law and called for 30 days of mediation.
“We are pleased with SERB’s decision as we hold the collective bargaining process in high regard. The posting of the contract proposal has prolonged the bargaining process and caused undue stress for our members,” Scott Maney, president of the local, Springboro Education Association (SEA), said in the OEA release.
Also on Friday, “in the spirit of transparency,” the school board issued another press release on the state of negotiations.
“We have now completed an evaluation of the financial impact of the current SEA proposal. It exceeds the school district’s available funds by more than $2 million in years one and two,” Board president Kelly Kohls said in the release.
The union has a 10-day strike notice ready. The board also is moving toward placing a property tax renewal, representing 25 percent of the district budget, on November ballots. The levy expires at the end of the year.
Friday’s board press release on the teachers’ contract followed one on a tentative agreement with the Springboro Classified Employees Union representing the districts non-certified employees. The tentative agreement includes $1,000 stipends, step raises and an 80-20 health plan, officials said.
Union officials objected to the board announcement on the tentative agreement.
“The members have not been notified. We didn’t have any notion they would be releasing it when they did,” said Marla Bell, the OEA consultant negotiating with the Springboro board for both unions.
“It’s very unusual and I think improper,” Bell said of the board’s announcement on the tentative agreement.
Board Member David Petroni referred questions to lawyer William Deters, who did not return calls requesting a response.