STATEWIDE BARGAINING:  TIMELINES, PROCEDURAL MATTERS, TERMS AND STRUCTURE

A Commission comprised of five representatives from school employees and five representatives from school employers.  Vermont School Boards Association selects the five employer reps, Vermont-NEA selects four employee reps and AFSCME selects one rep.  Vermont-NEA has additionally selected four non-voting representatives who will serve alongside the appointed commissioners.

The first statewide agreement will have a duration of not less than two years.  The statute allows for some varying levels of premium share and out of pocket expense shares in the first agreement.  

Bargaining over health insurance subject to the statute shall not be allowed at the local level except for dental, vision, life and LTD.  

The bargaining will cover union and non-union employees alike and extends to licensed teachers, licensed administrators and non-licensed employees in all classifications of work – if the school district or supervisory union is the employer.  

If the parties reach an agreement without resorting to binding arbitration, it must be submitted for ratification to union members statewide and to school boards in accordance with procedures established by the parties.  If not ratified, the issues will ultimately be submitted to binding arbitration. Strikes and contract imposition on the specific subjects of bargaining for health insurance is prohibited under the statute.

Local school districts will be responsible for employer costs and deducting employee premium share amounts in the same manner as is currently experienced.

All four VEHI plans will stay in effect until the expiration of the first agreement.  Only premiums may change.

Retired teachers are not affected by this statute.

TIMELINES

April 1: Bargaining begins

April 5: Fact-finder and Arbitrator must be selected by this date.  If no agreement by the parties, the parties must go the American Arbitration Association for selection process.

August 1: Bargaining without outside assistance comes to a formal end if the parties have not reached agreement.  Forced impasse.

August 15: The last date that mediated fact finding shall occur… meaning a mediation session and then either a hearing or submission of materials.  

September 15: Latest date that a fact-finding report is due to the parties.  

Sept. 16-Nov 14: Post fact-finding negotiations take place.  The parties may meet on their own or, presumably with the fact finder or another neutral for further mediation.  This is like the process that is used for current negotiations.

November 15: Arbitration hearing must occur by this date.  Arbitrator must select one of the offers put forth without amendment within 30 days of the hearing.  Also known as last best offer.

December 15: Arbitrator’s decision issued.  The decision is final and does not require ratification.  All terms will be incorporated into local Master Agreements by reference.  Ratification will only be required should the agreements be reached prior to arbitration.  

July 1, 2020: New cost-sharing terms (Premiums and OOP) go into effect.  There is discussion over whether the terms should go into effect on 1/1/21 at the start of a new plan year.  

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