Contract Expiration: What it Could Mean for Your District

Kacie Kefgen

By Kacie Kefgen, MASB Assistant Director of Labor Relations and Legal Services

DashBoard, May 25, 2016

We are now about five weeks away from June 30, a common expiration date for teacher contracts across the state. Here are some things that happen if the calendar turns over to July before the board and the union agree on a new contract:

School employee compensation may not increase due to step or lane changes or for longevity payments. MCL 423.215b(1) states:

. . . after the expiration date of a collective bargaining agreement and until a successor collective bargaining agreement is in place, a public employer shall pay and provide wages and benefits at levels and amounts that are no greater than those in effect on the expiration date of the collective bargaining agreement. The prohibition in this subsection includes increases that would result from wage step increases.

Lane changes are included in the prohibition in accordance with Bedford Public Schools v. Bedford Education Association MEA/NEA.

School employees must pay for any increases in health care and other insurance costs, and school districts should make the necessary increased payroll deductions to pay for any increase in those benefit costs. MCL 423.215b(1) states:

Employees who receive health, dental, vision, prescription, or other insurance benefits under a collective bargaining agreement shall bear any increased costs of maintaining those benefits that occur after the expiration date. The public employer may make payroll deductions necessary to pay the increased costs of maintaining those benefits.

After an agreement has been reached, school employees may not receive retroactive pay to make up for the increases they would have received had the new contract been effective when the last one expired. In other words, if the contract expired on June 30, and a new agreement was reached on Aug. 1, the district may not apply wage or benefit increases retroactively to cover the month of July. MCL 423.215b(2) states:

. . . the parties to a collective bargaining agreement shall not agree to, and an arbitration panel shall not order, any retroactive wage or benefit levels or amounts that are greater than those in effect on the expiration date of the collective bargaining agreement.

If you have questions about these or other bargaining issues, please contact me at 517.327.5914 or [email protected].

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