II. Collective Bargaining

Joint Sessions

Smartsettle’s objective is to assist the parties in reaching a fair and efficient agreement. This section is a summary of results from joint sessions held by the parties to discuss the issues and develop their Single Negotiating Framework. We are only posting the highlights here, if you are interested in seeing more details please make an inquiry.

There are many ways that parties can communicate with each other during the Smartsettle process. Assisted by their private facilitators, each party drafted their own draft Negotiating Framework on the basis of given background information, expression of interests, and brainstorming about the issues. In response to the two drafts submitted by the parties, the Lead Facilitator posted a draft Single Negotiating Framework as shown below.


During ensuing discussions, the following information emerged as descriptive of the various issues.


There is currently no set class size limit in this district. Management determines class size. Over the last ten years, the largest class size in this district was 33 students.


There is a separate Dental plan of which Employer is currently paying 50% of the premium.


This is the percentage that the employer pays for the basic health care plan. Employer is currently paying 80% of the premium.


Faculty size is directly related to average class size and the total number of students. Due to numbers of students increasing faster than faculty, the average class size in this district has been growing by about one student per year. Last year it was 22 students. The Labor Board has established a policy that management must implement agreed increases in faculty within one year for 5%, two years for 10%, and three years for 15%.


Co-pay is a share that the employee pays for various health expenses, (not including dental). In this case, the parties are negotiating the amount employees will pay for each medical appointment. Current co-pay is $20/visit. Several other districts also provide for co-payments of $20 per visit but there are quite a few that are lower and there are some districts have policies in which there is no Co-pay. A recent survey showed that average employee co-payments in this district (total for all visits during the year) were about $100/person last year, which is slightly above the state average.


There is a Health and Safety Committee that meets outside of school time and is not compensated for its time.


A recent survey of other schools across the nation reveals that most schools have less than 25 NTAs per 1000 students. The average NTA ratio is 10 per 1000 students. One school located in a high crime area had 60 NTA’s per 1000 students.


The existing plan is:

Cafeteria Plan: This is a plan that permits a participant to choose between two or more benefits consisting of cash and benefits, sometimes referred to as a flexible benefit.

Two other options under discussion are:

Managed Care: This would be health care insurance provided through HMOs, PPOs, and managed indemnity programs, which places some controls on utilization of health care services. The primary goal is to deliver cost-effective health care without sacrificing quality or access.

Fee for Service: This is a traditional health benefits plan that pays benefits directly to providers and reimburses a patient for covered medical services. Examples are Blue Cross & Blue Shield and Medicare.


Very few schools in the country are currently employing police to be on duty in the school. There are no such examples yet in this state.


Maternity leave is a period of time taken off work by an employee after she gives birth. Current district policy covers this with a formula involving a combination of vacation, sick and personal days. A few districts give a separate paid maternity leave that varies from one to six months depending on the district.


An independent committee has been working on a new expulsion policy already for two years with no set deadline. The issue in this negotiation is about a deadline for the report. If the report is not submitted by the deadline, the policy will not change.


The dialog around the Metal Detectors issue was particularly interesting.

Management asked:

What is happening in the schools that has led you to ask for metal detectors and police officers?

Labor replied:

Drugs, alcohol and weapons have been found when they could have been prevented from appearing if metal detectors had been implemented.

This much dialog about metal detectors resulted in a simple yes/no issue interpreted as “all or none”.

Then Management said:

Management feels that the introduction of metal detectors would be detrimental to the educational environment. That said, we can agree that we wish to eliminate weapons, etc. in schools. But we think that metal detectors will make students feel that going to school is like going to prison. We would be open to other suggestions that might meet both our interests.

For example, we would accept a proposal where the introduction of metal detectors in SOME SCHOOLS (with demonstrable need) for a LIMITED TIME (hand-in-hand with long term plans to eliminate the root problems) where Labor and Management could reach unanimous agreement. After this input, the Metal Detectors issue options became (all, ad hoc, none).


The issues dealing with Maternity and Expulsion policy were resolved in (imaginary) face-to-face discussions, leaving the following eleven issues to be resolved with Smartsettle.

· Class size limit (students)

· Dental plan employer contribution (%)

· Employer Healthcare Premium Share (%)

· Faculty increase (%)

· Health benefit co-pay reduction (%)

· Health & Safety compensation (minutes/week)

· Metal detectors (all, ad hoc, none)

· NTA’s per 1000 students (assistants)

· Health & Safety in “prep time” (yes/no)

· Healthcare plan (fee for service, managed care, cafeteria)

· Police per 1000 students (officers)
You may choose to view the continuation of this simulation from the Labor point of view or the Management point of view.