Michigan Education Association files unfair labor charge against Dickinson-Iron ISD

The charge was filed against the district on Friday
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 3:29 PM EST
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KINGSFORD, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE: The Dickinson-Iron Education Association claims the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District violated the Public Employment Relations Act. The union says the ISD board has refused to bargain about COVID-related working conditions for this school year.

“At this point, they are extremely reluctant, and actually avoiding having any discussions with us on this topic,” said Dave Martinson, MEA Western U.P. UniServ Director.

The Dickinson-Iron ISD says it has no comment at this time. Martinson says the association wants to negotiate expectations, roles, and responsibilities of the employer and employee going forward.

“That is our goal, to bring that consistency and understanding, and address any concerns that may arise through those discussions,” Martinson said.

The Dickinson-Iron Education Association represents 30 professional ISD staff members. Their jobs in Dickinson and Iron County schools include speech pathologists, certified teachers, and social workers.

Martinson says a letter of agreement between the union and the ISD covered last year’s working conditions. He says the ISD board has refused to negotiate this year.

The union’s case will be heard in front of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC).

“We feel pretty confident that the concerns we are bringing forward are concerns that, in the past, MERC has ruled in our favor on,” Martinson said.

A hearing date has not been scheduled.

“In the meantime, we are continuing to request of the board that they sit down and negotiate with us,” Martinson said.

Martinson says there has been no conversation between the union and the ISD board since the labor charge was filed last week.

The Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District Education Association has filed an Unfair Labor Practice Charge against the ISD.

In a press release, the MEA says that the charge stems from the ISD failing to bargain in good faith.

The bargaining unit, composed of teachers and other professional educators filed a “demand to bargain” over COVID-19 issues, including leave provisions, vaccination procedures and other pandemic-related issues.

“Under labor law, these issues are subject to collective bargaining. The refusal by the ISD to honor that requirement not only disrespects our members, it violates Michigan labor laws, which led our membership to file these charges,” MEA UniServ Director Dave Martinson stated.

The case will be heard by the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC), which oversees state labor laws.

“We look forward to presenting our case to MERC and, following a successful resolution of these issues, moving forward with the collective bargaining process,” Martinson said.

The Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District said they have no comment at this time.

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