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V.I. Asks for Mediation in Teacher Pact Impasse

Aug. 2, 2008 — Three weeks before school is scheduled to start, the V.I. government and the Department of Education have asked the Public Employee Relations Board to declare an impasse and begin mediation.
The Office of Collective Bargaining filed the petition to declare an impasse on Wednesday and a PERB hearing was held Friday.
Teacher contract negotiations took a turn for the worse in early June when the two unions both voted to reject the government's offer. (See "Teachers Turn Down Contract Offer.")
Gov. John deJongh Jr. even stepped into the matter, issuing a statement asking the teachers to reconsider.
Virgin Islands labor law says "upon request of either party … the PERB shall submit the unresolved issues to a mediator selected by the PERB."
If the mediator cannot achieve a voluntary resolution within 14 days, the dispute goes to an arbitration panel for a decision that is final and binding on the parties. The parties may skip mediation and go straight to the arbitration panel if they agree.
Though PERB met Friday with government Chief Negotiator Jessica Gallivan and staff of the Office of Collective Bargaining, no teacher representatives were present. Both the St. Croix and St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers responded to notice of the meeting with PERB but both declined to appear.
The St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers wrote to say Vernelle de Lagarde, president of the local, would be on vacation until August 18 and the St. Croix Federation of Teachers wrote saying union president Tyrone Molyneux is off-island attending to personal matters and will be in Washington D.C. next week.
Nothing was resolved immediately at PERB.
"We will have to wait until Monday to find out one way or the other," said Robert Molloy, the assistant attorney general assigned to the Office of Collective Bargaining on Friday.
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Aug. 2, 2008 -- Three weeks before school is scheduled to start, the V.I. government and the Department of Education have asked the Public Employee Relations Board to declare an impasse and begin mediation.
The Office of Collective Bargaining filed the petition to declare an impasse on Wednesday and a PERB hearing was held Friday.
Teacher contract negotiations took a turn for the worse in early June when the two unions both voted to reject the government's offer. (See "Teachers Turn Down Contract Offer.")
Gov. John deJongh Jr. even stepped into the matter, issuing a statement asking the teachers to reconsider.
Virgin Islands labor law says "upon request of either party ... the PERB shall submit the unresolved issues to a mediator selected by the PERB."
If the mediator cannot achieve a voluntary resolution within 14 days, the dispute goes to an arbitration panel for a decision that is final and binding on the parties. The parties may skip mediation and go straight to the arbitration panel if they agree.
Though PERB met Friday with government Chief Negotiator Jessica Gallivan and staff of the Office of Collective Bargaining, no teacher representatives were present. Both the St. Croix and St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers responded to notice of the meeting with PERB but both declined to appear.
The St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers wrote to say Vernelle de Lagarde, president of the local, would be on vacation until August 18 and the St. Croix Federation of Teachers wrote saying union president Tyrone Molyneux is off-island attending to personal matters and will be in Washington D.C. next week.
Nothing was resolved immediately at PERB.
"We will have to wait until Monday to find out one way or the other," said Robert Molloy, the assistant attorney general assigned to the Office of Collective Bargaining on Friday.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.