Bay City is not the only school district to agree to a contract that stipulates that prohibited language will be automatically reinserted and enforceable if the 2011 reforms are no longer state law. Allen Park Public Schools’ 2013-14 contract acknowledged the prohibited subjects of bargaining, but continued to include the language in the main text of the contract, but displayed it in italics. The contract noted:
Should the law that determined these prohibited subjects be found unconstitutional, or as nullified through the Protect-Our-Jobs ballot initiative, then these provisions shall become immediately enforceable.[*]
Within the Allen Park collective bargaining agreement language stating that least-senior teachers will be laid off first was italicized. However, the district kept language stating that laid off employees would be “given preference” over substitute teachers when open positions are available to fill, and these positions will be filled based on seniority.
Moreover, Allen Park kept language stipulating that no teachers would be laid off unless there is a “substantial decrease” in student enrollment or district revenues, or a “substantial increase” in district expenses. While Allen Park appears to believe that this language is compliant with the 2011 reforms, the Plymouth-Canton district does not — near verbatim language was identified in light gray text in that district’s contract, indicating that Plymouth-Canton believed it was in violation of Public Act 103.
One can certainly see why Plymouth-Canton thought language like this might be impermissible. Public Act 103 prohibits bargaining over “decisions about the development, content, standards, procedures, adoption, and implementation of ... policies regarding personnel decisions ... resulting in the elimination of a position ...”
[*] “Agreement between the Allen Park Board of Education and the Allen Park Education Association” (Allen Park Public Schools, Aug. 26, 2013), 4, accessed Feb. 11, 2014, http://goo.gl/FUdY5c. “Protect Our Jobs” was a 2012 ballot proposal that would have prevented state law from modifying any provision of a public sector collective bargaining agreement. For more on this issue, see: Tom Gantert, “Union-Backed ’Protect Our Jobs' Ballot Initiative Would Wipe Out Reforms Unions Already Supported,” Michigan Capitol Confidential (Mackinac Center for Public Policy, July 17, 2012), accessed Feb. 12, 2014, http://goo.gl/bcpzFr.The district did note explicitly, however, that the italicized language should be considered as deleted text if the collective bargaining agreement went to arbitration.