Teaching Profession

Maryland Teachers’ Union Slapped With Labor Violation

By Linda Jacobson — April 12, 2005 2 min read

The Maryland State Teachers Association violated federal labor laws by threatening and reprimanding two employees who asked for different assignments and sought employment benefits, according to the National Labor Relations Board.

A 60,000-member affiliate of the National Education Association, the MSTA must now post a sign inside its headquarters in Annapolis, Md., stating that it broke the law, according to the ruling made by the independent federal agency.

The ruling stems from the complaints of Jeffrey J. Dean and Edward C. Fortney, who worked as union organizers in Maryland counties along the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. They were hired in 2002 as 20-hour-a-week educational support personnel, primarily to recruit clerical workers and food-service employees to join the union.

The MSTA classified the two men as independent contractors, not full-time or part-time employees of the union.

When the men wrote letters asking for new positions—and even for membership in the MSTA—they were ordered to stop seeking job reassignments, according to the NLRB. On several occasions, for example, the men asked for assignments closer to their homes.

Arthur J. Amchan, an administrative-law judge for the NLRB, wrote in his March 24 decision that the union was not obligated to satisfy Mr. Dean’s and Mr. Fortney’s requests, “but it is prohibited from restraining, coercing, or interfering with their entreaties.”

The decision names Dale Templeton, the union’s assistant director for affiliates and advocacy as being responsible for the violation.

Mr. Dean and Mr. Fortney testified that at one point, Ms. Templeton told them their jobs were not guaranteed in the budget, and that if the union’s membership did not increase—and if jobs were cut—they would be the first to go.

Ms. Templeton denied making those statements, which Mr. Amchan accepted, but the NLRB judge wrote in his decision that the men had a “protected right to concertedly seek a modification to their work assignments.”

‘We Will Not Threaten’

Last year, the Internal Revenue Service found that the MSTA had improperly avoided paying payroll taxes on the grounds that it considered Mr. Dean an independent contractor. Mr. Dean paid more than $3,000 in self-employment taxes, beginning in 2002, while Mr. Fortney paid roughly $1,500.

The men were eventually reclassified as “part-time/casual” employees.

While the IRS ruling specifically pertained to Mr. Dean, the federal revenue agency said that the ruling likely applied to all of the organizers who were working for the union at the time.

Mr. Fortney was fired from his job last year—an action that he claims was taken because he petitioned the union for job benefits. But Mr. Amchan, the administrative-law judge, did not find in his decision that the MSTA had retaliated against Mr. Fortney or Mr. Dean.

The notice to be posted in the MSTA offices states: “We will not threaten or coerce you from engaging in concerted protected activities for your mutual aid or protection by telling you that we are tired of such activities and that such activities will have to stop.”

Telephone calls seeking a comment last week from MSTA officials were not returned. But according to documents providing background information about the case, representatives of the union testified that part-time/casual employees were not eligible to be members of the collective bargaining unit.

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Building Leadership Excellence Through Instructional Coaching
Join this webinar for a discussion on instructional coaching and ways you can link your implement or build on your program.
Content provided by Whetstone Education/SchoolMint
Teaching Webinar Tips for Better Hybrid Learning: Ask the Experts What Works
Register and ask your questions about hybrid learning to our expert panel.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
Family Engagement for Student Success With Dr. Karen Mapp
Register for this free webinar to learn how to empower and engage families for student success featuring Karen L. Mapp.
Content provided by Panorama Education & PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

DevOps Engineer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
User Experience Analyst
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Senior Business Analyst - 12 Month Contract
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Senior Director Marketing
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Camelot Education

Read Next

Teaching Profession Q&A Nation's Top Teachers Discuss the Post-Pandemic Future of the Profession
Despite the difficulties this school year brought, the four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award say they're hopeful.
11 min read
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
Courtesy of CCSSO
Teaching Profession Teachers Are Stressed Out, and It's Causing Some to Quit
Stress, more so than low pay, is the main reason public school teachers quit. And COVID-19 has increased the pressure.
7 min read
Image of exit doors.
pavel_balanenko/iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Opinion Should Teachers Be Prioritized for the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Not all states are moving teachers to the front of the vaccination line. Researchers discuss the implications for in-person learning.
6 min read
Teacher Lizbeth Osuna from Cooper Elementary receives the Moderna vaccine at a CPS vaccination site at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.
Chicago public school teacher Lizbeth Osuna receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a school vaccination site last week.
Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP
Teaching Profession Chicago Teachers Approve School Reopening Plan: ‘We Got What We Were Able to Take’
Chicago Teachers Union members have voted in favor of a reopening deal, signaling that in-person classes can resume Thursday as planned.
Hannah Leone & Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas
4 min read
Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson speaks during a news conference at City Hall in Chicago on Feb. 7, 2021. The Chicago Teachers Union has approved a deal with the nation’s third-largest school district to get students back to class during the coronavirus pandemic, union officials announced early Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson speaks during a news conference at City Hall in Chicago on Feb. 7. The Chicago Teachers Union has approved a deal with the nation’s third-largest school district to get students back to class during the coronavirus pandemic.
Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP