On October 3rd Mr. Mead presented a rather bizarre ultimatum to GFT’s negotiating team which attempted to justify the GEB’s team walk out. Today, President Rector sent a letter to the rest of the GEB informing them of this bullying tactic and the critical issues associated with it.
President Rector states: “On October 3, 2011 your negotiating team once again walked away from the bargaining table and I am writing to you in the hopes that you will send a team, which will negotiate in good faith so that we can get the process restarted. The collective bargaining agreement between the GFT and the GEB is, in our opinion, the most important function of the Board and I am sure that the majority of you want to your will be done in an enforceable fashion. The CBA ensures the things that teachers and the Board agree will be the best for the system will be in place and enforced by the teachers that live under it every day.”
President Rector continues: “The teachers’ contract is critical for the well being of DOE and we want to work with you to ensure that there is no disruption in our children’s education as a result of the void that would be created if this contract were to expire without a replacement in place.”
President Rector then goes on to discuss the ultimatum on a point by point basis so that all of the GEB can fully understand what Mr. Mead is doing in their name. A couple of the most salient points are:
Mr. Mead’s first condition: “If at any time my position as the representative of the Guam Education Board is questioned, these negotiations will cease,” seems at the very least bizarre and personal. As a Government official Mr. Mead serves the people of Guam and is constrained by various laws. This seems to have the appearance of extortion because it implies that you are willing to hold the 31,000+ Public School students, their parents and the 1300+ certified teachers that serve them hostage in order to prevent any citizen of Guam from exercising their right and responsibility to question whether their Government officials are legally fulfilling their jobs.
Mr. Mead’s second condition: “If the GFT is unwilling to accept the fact that the GEB is the Policy making authority for the Department of Education and has the right to make and change policy as they are needed, these negotiations will cease,” is very broad and doesn’t seem to make sense unless it is in reference to GEB’s proposal to make this CBA a unilateral agreement that the Board can change at will. We do not believe that this proposal is even legal and we certainly don’t believe that it is part of good faith negotiations. A legally binding contract is one that can only be changed by mutual agreement or if a provision is in conflict with law. Both teams mutually agreed, when your team first submitted this language, that we would petition the court to issue a summary judgment on this issue.
Mr. Mead’s third condition: “If at any time email is sent to any member of the GEB or anyone not directly involved in these negotiations by anyone affiliated with the GFT negotiating team or the GFT in general, these negotiations will cease,” is questionable at best and could potentially be a violation of your duties as a member of the GEB. Every teacher on Guam is affiliated with the GFT negotiating team and to state that no teacher can send an email to any member of the GEB frankly scares me. One would think that GEB members would want to hear from the teachers that educate our children.
Mr. Mead’s fifth condition: “If at any time there appears on the GFT website, any documents produced by the negotiating teams prior to a tentative agreement or any documents and/or recordings of meetings are transmitted to any media outlet (including the GFT website, facebook & tweeter), these negotiations will cease,” is not only an attempt to unilaterally change the agreed upon ground rules but we believe also violates multiple laws as well as attempting to pressure GFT into violating laws.
Mr. Mead’s Seventh condition: “If at any time counter proposals are not done in a way that allows for discussion, explanation and true negotiation, these negotiations will cease, a. i.e. Responses by the GFT to Article XI of the GEB/DOE proposal is completely lined out as are a number of other proposals. What this speaks to is an unwillingness to discuss, as in this case there is no counter proposal” is disingenuous and misleading for a number of reasons. First, the GEB’s proposal of a contract has a large number of deletions that weren’t even evidenced by line outs. Second, the GFT proposal on Art. XI that Mr. Mead is referring to was never officially presented to the GEB’s team nor discussed. Mr. Mead copied all of our proposals from my thumb drive to his laptop, without permission, and then your team walked out of negotiations without discussing them. If you would have given us a chance to explain we would have informed them that it is our belief that neither side has the legal right to exempt Teachers from civil service protection which is what your Art. XI attempted to do.
President Rector then goes on to say, “We had high hopes that the GEB’s team would come to the negotiating table and bargain in good faith to reach an agreement that would improve the Department of Education, solve problems and ultimately improve the quality of education our teachers are able to provide for our children. Unfortunately, the GEB team’s actions and proposals have the appearance that the GEB intend exactly the opposite. We once again request the GEB send a team to the table that will negotiate in Good Faith. At the very least we request that the GEB extend the current contract until such time as legal questions have been answered and a mediator has had a chance to help us work out our differences.”
President Rector concludes, “We stand ready and willing to discuss and negotiate all proposals that the GEB might have to improve our educational system, but as you know time is of the essence. I, the 1300+ teachers, 31,000 public school students and their parents await your timely response with bated breath.”