Enforcing Our Organizing and Bargaining Rights at the DLR

Every MTA member should know about important protections afforded to education employees and their unions under the Commonwealth’s public-sector collective bargaining law. This statute, Chapter 150E of the Massachusetts General Laws, protects public employees who band together for “mutual aid and protection,” who join unions, who engage in “concerted activities,” who engage in collective bargaining and so on. It also requires public employers to bargain in good faith with the employees’ unions, to provide the unions with information they need to represent bargaining units and to adhere to the agreements that are reached through the collective bargaining process, including grievance settlements. In addition, an employer cannot threaten or retaliate against an employee who exercises his or her rights under Chapter 150E.

The statute is enforced by the Department of Labor Relations, which has the authority to investigate and conduct hearings regarding allegations about violations of the law. When an “unfair labor practice” charge is filed, the DLR holds an in-person investigation to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the law was violated. If the DLR finds probable cause, it issues a Complaint of Prohibited Practice and schedules the matter for a public hearing. The DLR hearing officer issues a decision after the hearing. Appeals can be heard by the Commonwealth Employee Relations Board, which has appellate authority within the agency.

The practices prohibited by the law are listed in M.G.L. c. 150E, Section 10.

Below are Complaints of Prohibited Practice issued by the DLR in cases where charges were filed on behalf of MTA affiliates.

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Parties Number Date Description
Stoughton School Committee and Stoughton Teachers Association MUP-14-4099 12/4/14 Failure to bargain over the decision and impacts of the unilateral changes to working conditions. The DLR complaint alleges that the SC failed to give notice and refused to bargain with the Stoughton Teachers Association over the decisions to assign guidance counselors to teach Guidance Seminar classes and perform attendance duties pursuant to the new state law, as well as the impacts of those decisions on the bargaining unit members’ terms and conditions of employment.
Holyoke School Committee and Holyoke Teachers Association MUP-14-3767 10/29/14 Retaliation for engaging in protected concerted activities. The DLR complaint alleges that the SC, acting through its administrators, retaliated against a teacher who was an active member of the HTA’s grievance committee by issuing negative observation reports, assessing aspects of her job performance as unsatisfactory on the Summative Evaluation, and placing her on a directed growth plan.
Lexington SC and Lexington EA MUP-14-3961 10/29/14 Retaliation of non-PTS teacher for filing grievance. DLR complaint alleges that unit member was notified of nonrenewal because she engaged in concerted, protected activity (filing a grievance) in violation of Section 10(a)(3) of the law. The complaint also alleges that the SC’s conduct interfered with, restrained and coerced its employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed under Section 2 of the Law in violation of Section 10(a)(1) of the law.
Franklin County Tech. Regional SC and Franklin County Tech. TA MUP-14-3867 10/24/14 Failure to support settlement agreement. The DLR complaint alleges that the SC failed to bargain in good faith in violation of Section 10(a)(5) of the Law when Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent failed to offer unconditional support for funding a second Business Technology instructor position despite a grievance settlement reached with the union that the Superintendent would make such recommendation. The complaint also alleges that the SC’s conduct interfered with, restrained and coerced its employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed under Section 2 of the Law in violation of Section 10(a)(1) of the law.
Holyoke SC and Holyoke TA MUP-14-3968 10/22/14 Unilateral elimination of bargaining unit position and transfer of unit work. School Committee eliminated Reading Interventionist positions and transferred those duties to tutors who are not in bargaining unit. The complaint alleges that the employer violated Section 10(a)(1) of the law by failing to bargain in good faith to resolution or impasse over 1) the impact of decision to eliminate Reading Interventionist positions; 2) the decision to transfer bargaining work; and 3) the impact of decision to transfer bargaining unit work to non-bargaining unit personnel since all are mandatory subjects of bargaining.
Dedham SC and Dedham EA MUP-14-3611 10/22/14 Union president reprimanded for advocacy on behalf of teacher assaulted by student. Reprimanding local president for statements about parents and their child in e-mails to two school committee members, as part of advocacy on behalf of a teacher who was assaulted by the student, is alleged to retaliate against, and restrain and coerce the free exercise of, protected activity in violation of sections 10(a)(3) and 10(a)(1).
Holyoke SC and Holyoke TA MUP-14-3836 9/5/2014 Retaliation of non-PTS teacher for opposing SC initiatives (data walls) and for his election as union president. DLR complaint alleges that negative evaluations and non-renewal of teacher was because he engaged in concerted activity protected by Section 2 of the law in violation of section 10(a(3) and 10(a)(1) of the Law. The lawful activity included speaking at public session of SC in opposition to initiatives of the SC (including use of data walls) and his election to serve as union president.
Springfield SC and Springfield EA MUP-14-3595 8/6/2014 Scheduling professional development day without bargaining.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's change of date for professional development was a unilateral change in violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1) because the CBA provides that all professional development days are to be scheduled jointly by the Committee and the Association. Complaint also alleges that, since timing of professional development day is a mandatory subject of bargaining, the School Committee's action was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
South Hadley SC and South Hadley EA MUP-14-3561 7/18/2014 Employer's inappropriate reaction to bargaining proposals.   DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's decision to eliminate department head position because of Association's proposal to increase stipends of department discriminated against union in exercising protected rights and interfered with, restrained and coerced employees violated sections 10(a)(3) and 10(a)(1).  
New Bedford SC and New Bedford EA MUP-14-3372 6/24/2014 Transfer of unit work (ELL administrative position) to non-bargaining unit personnel.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's transfer of bargaining unit work to non-bargaining unit members without giving the Association an opportunity to bargain was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
New Bedford SC and New Bedford EA MUP-14-3621 6/16/2014 Criticism of Association president for concerted, protected activity.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's issuance of a letter criticizing Association President's conduct during disciplinary meeting copied to all assistance superintendents and principals was a violation of section 10(a)(1).  Complaint also alleges that other statements by employer representatives to association representatives regarding their union activity were violations of section 10(a)(1). 
Brookline SC and Brookline EA MUP-13-3259 6/5/2014 Union representative's right to address union issues at faculty meeting.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's prohibition on member making any comments during faculty meetings regarding how administration policy runs counter to the collective bargaining agreement or impacts unit members' rights was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
Stoughton SC and Stoughton TA MUP-14-3433 4/9/2014 Association's right to speak at school committee meeting.  Complaint alleges that School Committee's refusal to allow the Association to speak at School Committee meetings, and School Committee Chair's statement that "The time to talk about the teachers' contract is at the negotiating table," were violations of section 10(a)(1).
Gardner SC and Gardner EA MUP-14-3381 3/6/2014 Reprimand of union president for concerted, protected activity.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's issuance of a written letter of reprimand to Association president for discussing performance concerns with another member, rather than bring them to the attention of building administration, was a violation of sections 10(a)(3) and 10(a)(1).
Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts and MSP/FSU University of Massachusetts - Boston Campus SUP-13-3120 2/13/2014 Repudiation of collective bargaining agreement and prior grievance decisions.  DLR complaint alleges that University's repudiation of certain contract requirements and prior grievance decisions was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1). 
Worcester SC and EA of Worcester MUP-13-3344 2/13/2014 Unilateral installation of surveillance cameras.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's installation of surveillance cameras on special education school buses without providing prior notice to Association and an opportunity to bargain to resolution or impasse over the impact was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1). 
Taunton SC and Taunton AA MUP-13-3367 2/4/2014 Implementation of teacher evaluation system that impacts administrators' working conditions without bargaining.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's implementation of new teacher evaluation system without providing Administrator's Association an opportunity to bargain to resolution or impasse over the system's impact on members' terms and conditions of employment was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
Belmont SC and Belmont EA MUP-13-2872 MUP-13-2873 1/13/2014 Unilateral change in granting sick bank coverage for childbirth. DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's unilateral removal of "recovery from pregnancy" from the category of medical conditions eligible for coverage by Sick leave Bank, without providing the Association with notice and an opportunity to bargain was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
Dedham SC and Dedham EA MUP-13-3155 1/13/2014 Failure to bargain teacher evaluation system, including district determined measures.  DLR complaint alleges that parties were not at impasse, and School Committee's refusal to bargain over DESE evaluation procedures was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1). Complaint also alleges that School Committee's refusal to bargain over the selection of specific District Determined Measures - a mandatory subject of bargaining - was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
Canton SC and Canton TA MUP-13-2797 12/17/2013 Allowing credit for online courses was transfer of unit work and repudiation of prior agreement.   DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's decision to allow students to take The Education Collaborative (TEC) online courses - not taught by Association members - for credit is a transfer of bargaining unit work to non-unit members, and was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1). Committee's decision to allow students to take TEC courses for credit was a repudiation of a prior Memorandum of Understanding and was therefore a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
Southbridge SC and Southbridge EA MUP-13-3168 12/17/2013 Prohibition against any interactions with other colleagues overly restrictive.  DLR complaint alleges that Superintendent's letter placing member on paid administrative leave that prohibited her from having contact with any staff member or student(s) of the Southbridge Public Schools prohibited member from seeking mutual aide and protection and union representation in violation of section 10(a)(1).
North Shore Regional Vocational SC and North Shore Regional EA MUP-12-2431 11/8/2013 Failure to provide information and failure to do so in timely manner.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee failed to provide in a timely manner information (investigatory notes, policies) requested by the Association that was relevant and reasonably necessary to represent a member in a termination proceeding, and therefore was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1). 
Berlin TA and Berlin SC MUP-13-2794 10/18/2013 Unilateral change in school year calendar.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's unilateral addition of two days to school year where students were present without providing the Association an opportunity to bargain over the impacts was a violation of Sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
Berlin SC and Berlin TA MUP-13-2898 MUP-13-2901 10/18/2013 Unilateral change in dental insurance carrier and benefits.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's change of dental insurance provider and benefits without providing the Association notice and an opportunity to bargain over the decision was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
North Brookfield SC and North Brookfield TA MUP-13-2767 10/17/2013 Employees' organizing activity is concerted, protected activity under the law.  The DLR complaint alleges that reprimanding an employee, restricting her lawful activity, subsequently eliminating her job, and not hiring her for the "new" position violated sections 10(a)(1) and 10(a)(3). 
Stoughton SC and Stoughton TA MUP-13-2974 MUP-13-2975 10/16/2013 Letter chastising president and unilaterally withholding of salary step increases during contract hiatus.  DLR complaint alleges that Deputy Superintendent's letter to Association president that president should remind "representatives to at all times conduct themselves professionally, control their emotions, and only threaten grievances when there is an actual identified violation of the collective bargaining agreement" was a violation of section 10(a)(1). Complaint also alleges that School Committee's unilateral decision not to implement step increases of salary schedule during contract hiatus was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
Hudson SC and Hudson EA MUP-13-2619 10/2/2013 Retaliation for grievance activity, direct dealing with employee regarding change in work schedule and retaliation by oral warnings to employee.  The DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's decision to increase member's workload was in retaliation for member's concerted, protected activity in participating in negotiations regarding discipline she received earlier in the school year and was a violation of sections 10(a)(3) and 10(a)(1). Complaint also alleges that School Committee's attempt to adjust member's schedule - a mandatory subject of bargaining - and bypassing the union was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1). Complaint alleges that Principal's accusations that member was disrespectful and warning that a letter would be placed in her file if she did not act in a more professional manner was because of her concerted, protected activity in violation of sections 10(a)(3) and 10(a)(1). 
Stoughton SC and Stoughton TA MUP-13-2603 8/22/2013 Implementation of Race to the Top training schedule without bargaining, prohibiton of union's communications through intranet service, opt-out of training violated prior agreement, and direct dealing.  DLR complaint alleges that: 1) School Committee's issuance of "Race to the Top" training schedule to employees prior to conclusion of impact bargaining over the program's implementation was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1); 2) School Committee's issuance of revised training schedules to all employees prior to finalization of tentative agreement was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1); 3) School Committee's prohibition on use of intranet messaging service for Association business without first negotiating with Association was a violation of 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1); 4) School Committee's offering of an option for member's to opt-out of certain training session was a repudiation of a previous agreement and a violation of 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1); School Committee's message to members that it would only deal with them directly and not through their chosen field representative was a violation of section 10(a)(1).
Athol-Royalston Reg. SC and Athol Teachers Association MUP-12-2428 7/12/2013 Unilateral changes in process to determine job assignment and compensation.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's unilateral action in changing the basis for paraprofessional and paraspecialist job assignment and compensation without providing the Association with notice and an opportunity to bargain was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
Concord SC and Concord TA MUP-13-2819 7/11/2013 Retialiation against Assocaiton president for concerted, protected activity.  DLR complaint alleges that member's poor evaluations, written warning, and transfer to new school and grade level were actions taken by the School Committee in retaliation for her concerted, protected activity as the President of the Association, and were therefore violations of sections 10(a)(3) and 10(a)(1). Complaint also alleges that School Committee's statement that Association members could only speak during school committee meetings if they are citizens of Concord was a violation of section 10(a)(1).
Holyoke SC and Holyoke TA MUP-13-2636 7/2/2013 Increased observations of unit member after participating in meeting with Superintendent to discuss concerns and Principal's unauthorized surveillance of union meeting.  DLR complaint alleges that six evaluations of a member within one-week period - culminating in negative feedback - were conducted by school principal in retaliation for the member's concerted, protected activity of participating in a meeting with the superintendent, and was a violation of sections 10(a)(3) and 10(a)(1). Complaint also alleges that Principal's viewing, through school surveillance system, of the meeting between Association members and the superintendent was a violation of section 10(a)(1). Complaint alleges that Principal's statement to unit members that "If you think things are bad now, they can get much, much worse before they get better" was a violation of section 10(a)(1).
Greenfield SC and Greenfield EA MUP-13-2834 6/20/2013 Issuance of no-tresspass order to union representative and requests for his removal.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's issuance of a no-trespass order to Association representative - preventing him from entering school grounds - and request that the Association remove him from his position as representative were violations of section 10(a)(1).
Andover SC and Andover EA MUP-12-2294 5/15/2013 Unit member terminated because of concerted, protected activity to support bargaining.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's termination of member for advocating for abstention in voting on NEASC accreditation reports was a violation of section 10(a)(3) because abstaining from voting on NEASC accreditation reports and advocating for such abstention, was concerted, protected activity to support bargaining. 
Stoughton SC and Stoughton TA MUP-12-1790 7/25/2012 Direct dealing with unit members  through focus groups about social network policy.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's decision to organize focus groups of teachers to discuss an impending social networking policy bypassed the Association and dealt directly with members, and thus was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
Andover SC and Andover EA MUP-11-1058 1/20/2012 Unilateral implementation of early release days.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's unilateral implementation of early release days without providing the Association with an opportunity to bargain to resolution or impasse was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
Avon SC and Avon EA MUP-11-6317 10/28/2011 Unilateral implementation of Facebook and Social Networking policy.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's unilateral implementation of an employee social networking policy - a mandatory subject of bargaining -  without providing the Association with notice and an opportunity to bargain was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).
Somerville SC and Somerville TA MUP-11-6202 MUP-11-6225 MUP-11-6226 MUP-11-6233 MUP-11-6241 8/19/2011 Health insurance benefits for retirees.  DLR complaint alleges that School Committee's change of future retirement health insurance benefits of current employees was a violation of sections 10(a)(5) and 10(a)(1).