Newport teachers plan unfair labor practices complaint

Classroom desks (WPRI)

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — An attorney for Newport’s public school teachers says the union is filing an unfair labor practice complaint against the school committee with the state.

Attorney Jennifer Azevedo told The Newport Daily Times the complaint centers on the fact the school committee set the union’s withdrawal of pending grievances as a condition of its most recent contract offer.

She says that is unfair.

Members of the teachers union took a vote of no confidence in superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain last week. They also rejected the proposed labor contract from the school committee and voted to “work to rule” when classes convene Sept. 8.

“Since her appointment in January 2014, Superintendent Jermain has repeatedly violated the terms of the existing collective bargaining agreement, resulting in a number of grievances, low morale among teachers, and a general feeling of disrespect and abuse,” the Teachers’ Association of Newport said in a statement Monday.

School Committee Chairwoman Jo Eva Gaines says it is common practice to settle grievances when an agreement is reached by the parties.

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