Faculty members represented by the American Federation of Teachers, Massachusetts, yesterday ratified a three-year collective bargaining agreement with The Longy School of Music in Cambridge, ending a long-running labor dispute and averting a trial before an NLRB Administrative Law Judge.
In addition to across-the-board wage increases over three years, the contract - which is the school’s first collective-bargaining agreement with faculty members - provides for employment stability sought by the union by establishing five-year faculty appointments, and also provides for flexibility in work assignments sought by the school, as the School looks forward to implementing its short and long term plans. The union and the school also reached a comprehensive backpay settlement agreement regarding alleged discrimination against individual faculty members.
The School’s faculty elected the union on January 20, 2010, and the school and the union had been negotiating for an initial labor contract for almost a year. The final agreement was reached in mid-February, after a week of intensive negotiations at the NLRB regional offices in Boston (Region 1), facilitated by an NLRB judge and trial attorneys.
“I am pleased that the parties were able to reach a mutually satisfactory settlement of these issues without the need for a lengthy trial and the delay that is inherent in litigation,” said Rosemary Pye, NLRB Regional Director in Boston. “It is noteworthy that the parties have reached an initial collective-bargaining agreement with a term of three years. This will give the employer and the union an opportunity to build a strong base for future labor relations.”
Following an investigation, Region One of the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against The Longy School of Music in October 2010, alleging that the School had engaged in bargaining with no intent to reach a collective-bargaining agreement and had made multiple changes in assignments and other employment conditions without having engaged in the requisite bargaining with the union. The complaint also alleged numerous discriminatory acts against employees in retaliation for their support of the Union.
On January 4, 2011, responding to an NLRB petition, Massachusetts Federal District Court Judge Patti Saris entered an order granting certain interim injunctive relief, including a bargaining obligation.
The National Labor Relations Board enforces the National Labor Relations Act, a statute giving employees the right to form, join, or assist unions or engage in protected activities, and to refrain from such activities.