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Ann Arbor teachers union, school district battle over contract dispute


The Ann Arbor teachers union is battling with the school district over contract negotiations.

Both have filed charges of “unfair labor practice” against the other.

The union says its current contract lasts until the district pays back $4.5 million in pay cuts that teachers took several years ago.

“They have not done that,” says union president Linda Carter.

But the district says it has to put together a new contract that complies with recent state laws.

“With changes in the laws governing education contracts, the district has sought to be in compliance with new legislation,” school district administrators said in a written statement released today.

Those laws could apply to things like teacher evaluations, seniority, and bargaining, according to Carter, who feels the new legislation isn’t good for teachers.

"They're out of step with our community and the job protections that we have had in this Ann Arbor education contract for many, many years."

Carter says Deputy Superintendent David Comsa told the teachers union in March that the district’s legal advisers considered its contract to be at an end.

“We were floored. I could not believe what I was hearing. I then turned to [Mr.] Comsa, and I said, ‘Did you know that?’ and he says to me, ‘Well no.’ And I said, ‘But you’re an attorney!’”

In a written statement released by the Ann Arbor superintendent’s office, David Comsa says:

“We are hopeful that the [teacher’s] Association will reconsider. In the past we have been able to reach collaborative and innovative agreements, even in the face of external challenges.”  

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health and the COVID-19 pandemic.
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