Long Island teachers on April 23 protested over the ongoing, 12-year contract negotiation impasse between the Lawrence Teachers’ Association (LTA) and the Lawrence Union Free School District. The Lawrence Union Free School District is located in Cedarhurst, New York.
The previous contract ended in 2011, and teachers in the school district have continued to work under the terms of the expired contract due to the prolonged contract negotiations.
LTA President Rachel Kriess told local media that the main issue for the teachers union is class sizes. “We have a class size provision where the Board of Education would like that eliminated from our contract,” Kreiss said, “We refuse to give up on class size.”
The teachers union has been engaged in an ongoing lawsuit since 2017 against the district’s school board alleging the board engaged in bad faith negotiations. The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) also urged teachers and activists to “[t]ell Lawrence’s BOE to support students and give educators a fair contract” on Twitter.
While LTA may publicly blame the school district for the impasse, both parties are likely at fault; the school district and the union owe it to their employees and members to come to an agreement.
The expired contract predates the 2018 Janus decision, which outlawed agency fees. LTA’s contract still includes this now unconstitutional provision.
The contract states that the school district agrees “to deduct any agency fee from the salaries of non-member unit employees for the Lawrence Teachers’ Association and its affiliates, and to transmit such monies to the Lawrence Teachers’ Association.”
It is unclear whether the union has enforced the provision. If so, it appears to be a reasonable negotiation demand by teachers to remove agency fees from a future contract.