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School Board Should Consider Non-Binding Arbitration, Says Morgan

Wednesday, September, 28, 2011

Non binding arbitration has become the subject of debate in Jefferson Parish School District.  Three different lawsuits are currently pending on issues as varied as teacher layoffs, furlough days, and alleged age discrimination.  It is believed the core of the various problems is the fact that, last February, the newly elected school board rejected supporting collective bargaining rights for workers.  Ever since then, the board and the teacher workforce, which numbers more than 3,000 educators, have rarely seen eye to eye.


Non Binding Arbitration can Provide a Solution


Mark Morgan, who serves on the school board, is presently recommending that both sides engage in non binding arbitration so that tensions can be eased and the teachers and board can attempt to find some middle ground.  "I listened to what the teachers said, and I'm concerned about the motivation we're giving our teachers," he commented.  "I think we have an obligation to the teachers, even if the [arbitration process] is non binding."


The nature of non binding contract arbitration is such that neither party is bound to follow the decision of an arbitration panel.  Instead, the parties are free to discuss the issues and explore solutions without any pressure since either side can reject the eventual proposed resolution.  Morgan's recommendation for non binding arbitration, if followed, could help restore the school district to a workplace with open lines of communication.