Wicomico County Education Association seek binding arbitration for support staff employees
Wicomico County Education Association is a union made up of 1,300 members ranging from teachers to support staff.
And a small group with a powerful message met May 4, 2017, as they prepped for an upcoming rally.
The Wicomico County Education Association, also known as WCEA, is hoping to speak on behalf of support staff employees, individuals they say are being denied the right to a binding arbitration.
Debra Garner, the state organizer for support staff of the Maryland State Education Association says this would allow a third party to solve disputes.
In the state of Maryland, every single teacher has the right to a binding arbitration, but for support staff, it's not quite the same.
WCEA's president, Joan Smith tells 47 ABC, that until the Wicomico County Board of Education decides to change that rule- all disputes are ultimately settled by the superintendent.
But having that third party, it would allow those cases to be neutral.
"There's really nothing of benefit for him other than to be that resource, who's going to read the contract and with his understanding of the contract, make or create a resolution for the issue," Smiths tells 47 ABC.
And by hosting the upcoming rally, they are hoping to not only change the mind of the Board of Ed. but they are hoping to also change that policy.
Garner says, "We are tired of hearing no, the board of education has never given a good reason why they say no, and so we're saying this year is the year we're not going to take no for an answer. Enough is enough, binding arbitration works for the teachers, it's time that it works for the support staff too."
WCEA is hosting a rally on Tuesday February 9, 2017 at 6 p.m. at 101 Long Avenue.
From there, they will walk into the board meeting which starts at 7 p.m. in order to speak with board members.
The superintendent of Wicomico County Public Schools, Dr. Donna Hanlin did make a statement.
She says she had not been aware of a planned rally next week but she certainly supports their right to gather.
She also says their relationship with the WCEA is collaborative and productive as they all work together on behalf of the students.
Dr. Hanlin tells us they welcome the continuation of that collaborative relationship during the traditional negotiations process, which involves give and take on both sides as they work toward an agreement.