Friday, August 07, 2009

Providence Teachers Union Files Suit Over Hiring Policies

Providence Teachers Union Membership Update, August 6, 2009:

On Thursday, August 6, 2009, our legal counsel filed suit against the Providence School Board, Superintendent Brady and Commissioner Gist regarding the Providence School Department’s implementation of the February 17, 2009 Commissioner’s Order. As you know, since the issuance of the Order, our Union along with representatives from the RI Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers, have attempted to negotiate with the administration in developing a response to the Order that provided the district with the opportunity to interview for vacancies while also providing a fair and transparent interview/transfer process for teachers. It is our position that any modification of the hiring and transfer language in our Collective Bargaining Agreement is (1) negotiated and (2) a transparent system with explicit criteria for the ranking of candidates which recognizes qualifications and experience.

As I have previously stated, without formal procedures in place, the administration has made arbitrary and capricious decisions resulting in inequities for teachers. We continue to receive calls on a daily basis from members describing unprofessional and, in some cases, insulting treatment by the administration throughout the interview and selection process. For example, a National Board Certified teacher who applied for a position at a Cohort I school, was not selected for the position because a “more suitable candidate was selected.” The “more suitable candidate” is from outside the district. So, it begs the question as to what criteria the district deems a candidate “suitable.” ... Unfortunately, this is only one example of the numerous inequities that teachers have and continue to face, and one of the reasons that we have initiated our legal challenge.

The administration is making no effort whatsoever to maintain even a veneer of fairness about their hiring processes. Whether or not that makes a difference in the outcome of this lawsuit, I don't know.

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