In 1970, GFT negotiated its first Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for DOE Teachers. It was a historic event that opened up the doors for employees to have a voice in their working conditions. Since then, GFT has been negotiating CBAs which has protected seniority, classroom sizes, voluntary and involuntary transfers, teaching assignments and more.
Today, the GEB refuses to resume negotiations because of their uncertainty on the validity of GFT’s representation of teachers. GFT President, Timothy Fedenko, and GFT Treasurer, James Lujan, questioned the board on the status of the Teachers’ CBA at the last GEB Meeting held on Tuesday, August 13th. The board responded that they are waiting on a response from DOA regarding the validity of GFT to represent teachers. Does GFT have the majority? Does GFT have 50+1 teachers, counselors, and librarians that want union representation? Not every teacher is a GFT member but every teacher, counselor, librarian, etc. is represented by GFT. After nearly 50 years of protecting the rights of workers and negotiating the working conditions that has allowed our teachers to provide decent public education to our children, do teachers really want to work without a contract? Without protection from unfair treatment?
GFT has yet to receive any formal documents from DOE or DOA regarding its validity to represent teachers. However, in response to the verbal arguments of the GEB on GFT’s 50+1 membership, according to the Public Employee-Management Relations Act (PEMRA),
§ 10109. Exclusive Recognition of Employee Organizations.
“Government management officials shall recognize a qualified employee organization as the exclusive representative of public employees in an appropriate employee unit when determination is made that the organization has a membership of not less than ten percent (10%) of the total number of employees in the unit, and has been designated as their exclusive representative by a majority of the unit employees”
GFT has been designated as the exclusive representative by a majority of the unit employees and continues to maintain this recognition with a membership of not less than ten percent. GEB’s refusal to resume negotiations appears to be merely nothing but a stall tactic and contradicts the policy of PEMRA which states:
§ 10102. Declaration of Policy.
“The Legislature of the territory of Guam declares that it is the policy and purpose of this Chapter, in the public interest, to promote orderly and constructive relationships between Government and its public employees by providing an opportunity for effective participation by employees in the formulation and implementation of policies and procedures affecting conditions of their employment”
As teachers begin their first week back at school, think of the rights you have and imagine how it would be without them. You may be fine with the administration today but they always change. With a CBA in place, your working conditions are set no matter which administration it is. If you want a CBA and want to be protected, then attend the next board meeting and show the GEB that you want a CBA.