Youngstown schools CEO, teachers union remain at odds over raises, contract control
Lawyers for Krish Mohip, Youngstown schools CEO, and the teachers union will have to agree on what is the best way to grant teacher raises without violating labor laws.
Mohip responded today to an unfair labor practice charge filed against him by the Youngstown Education Association.
The union’s complaint accuses Mohip of engaging in public bargaining through the manipulation of local media and challenged Mohip’s interpretation of when certain provisions of House Bill 70 become active.
HB 70 gives the CEO broad powers to run the school district to make sure it rises to state academic standards.
Mohip and YEA President Larry Ellis have been engaging in a back-and-forth over Mohip’s intent to give district teachers a 5 percent raise on top of the 2 percent raise promised in their current contract.
Ellis and his legal counsel believe Mohip – who says he needs to reopen the contract negotiations to give the teachers a raise – is using the raise as a sort of “Trojan Horse” tactic for accelerating the implementation of provisions in HB 70.
“HB 70 gives me authority and decision-making power that is not typical for a district leader,” he wrote in an op-ed piece for The Vindicator in April.
Mohip went on to say he has chosen not to use that power and would prefer to work with the teachers.
Atty. Ira Mirkin, a member of the YEA’s legal counsel through the law firm of Green, Haines and Sgambati, said allowing Mohip to reopen the collective bargaining would put all future collective-bargaining rights in Mohip’s control.
The union argues the provisions in HB 70 that would grant Mohip power over collective bargaining won’t go into effect until 2018-19, when the current contract expires.
Mohip and his legal counsel disagree with that interpretation, however, arguing that HB 70 went into effect in October 2015, and that Mohip currently has the power to reopen negotiations with the union.
Before filing the labor complaint, the YEA suggested if Mohip wanted to take unilateral action to give the teachers a raise, the union would not file a labor complaint against him for doing so.
“The union won’t challenge him if he takes unilateral action,” Mirkin said.
Mohip said, however, he was unwilling to “cut a side deal” with the unions, alleging past side deals made before his tenure have been detrimental to the district.
Read more about the situation in Wednesday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.