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Fact-finding proceeds through fall

The UFT has its last scheduled fact-finding hearing for a new contract on Nov. 4. After the final hearing, both the union and the Department of Education will have an opportunity to submit post-hearing briefs.

After the submission of post-hearing briefs, the next step will be for the fact-finding panel to render a nonbinding recommendation designed to help the union and the DOE craft a final settlement. There is no timetable for when the panel will issue its recommendation.

The fact-finding hearings began May 6 and ran through the summer. They are held before a panel of three labor relations experts who were appointed by the state Public Employment Relations Board to hear the union and the DOE present their cases for the terms of the new contract.

The dispute pivots largely on the question of pattern bargaining. The UFT’s position is that its members are entitled to the same raises other city workers have received. The mayor contends that the city cannot afford to follow the pattern.

The UFT’s most recent contract expired on Oct. 31, 2009. Under the state Taylor Law that governs relations between management and public employee labor unions, all the terms of the expired contract remain in effect until a new agreement is reached.

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