LORDSTOWN School district and union settle unfair labor practice complaint

SERB is expected to consider the agreement next month.
COLUMBUS -- Lordstown School District has reached a settlement in an unfair labor practice complaint filed by its teachers' union.
The settlement has been signed by attorneys representing the State Employment Relations Board, the teachers union and school board.
It must be approved by the full SERB board, which is likely to consider it at its next meeting in August.
The parties "agree that an unfair labor practice was committed" by the school board and agree to a resolution to avoid further litigation.
Complaint: The LTA filed a complaint with SERB in February, contending the board's December implementation of a three-year contract constituted an unfair labor practice.
The teachers union called off a threatened strike Dec. 8 when state Auditor Jim Petro's office declared the district in fiscal emergency.
The union at the time was calling off talks until a state commission was in place to oversee district spending and district finances could be made clearer.
The school board approved a three-year contract Dec. 7, calling for a wage freeze the first year with wage reopening clauses for the second and third years. The contract also included a different insurance plan from the pact that expired in August 2000.
Status: Attorney Van D. Keating, of the Ohio School Boards Association, who represents the Lordstown board, said the agreement, if approved by SERB, returns the teachers' contract to the status it held before Dec. 7.
The sides were in mediation at that time, Keating said. The new insurance plan, which took effect in April, will remain in effect, but the parties will agree to negotiate its effects.
Keating said the plan saved the district money. The entities recognize that the school board's "actions in the matter were a result of mistake and were not undertaken with malice," the agreement states.
SERB found probable cause in May that an unfair labor practice had been committed and sent the matter to a hearing. The settlement eliminates the need for a hearing.

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