The head of the Baltimore Teachers Union is calling on the city school system to rescind its plan to issue layoff notices Tuesday, which she said violates aspects of the union's contract.

According to a letter sent by Marietta English on Friday, the district's announced plan to carry out a "reduction in force," breaches the school system's obligation to bargain in good faith with the union. The union represents about 6,000 teachers, paraprofessionals and school-based employees.


English said she was not aware of the planned "reduction in force" prior to seeing a letter sent out Thursday by acting schools CEO Tammy Turner.

Turner announced in the letter that financial constraints would require an unspecified number of central office and school-based employees to receive pink slips when they return to work after the Memorial Day weekend.

English said the district also breached the contract because system officials are required to meet with the union at least 15 days in advance of deciding to implement a reduction in force, and to allow the union to negotiate the implementation of the layoffs. The union contract also stipulates that layoffs be done by certification, qualifications and seniority and provides important recall rights, she said.

English said the issuance of Turner's letter without prior union notification, "represents a new low in union management relations in the Baltimore City Public School System."

Turner sent a letter to district staff Thursday informing them of the reduction. School officials declined to provide specifics on who and how many staff would be affected until after notifications go out next Tuesday.

Late Friday, the school system and the teachers' union sent out a joint statement saying they would meet on Monday.

"As a result of discussions held between the Baltimore Teachers Union and Baltimore City Public Schools representatives, both will meet to discuss the impending reduction in force on Monday, May 30, 2016, as was previously agreed," the statement said. "Any reduction in force would be effective June 30, 2016. City Schools and Baltimore Teachers Union have a longstanding history of collaboration and will continue these discussions in the best interest of our students and staff."

Last school year, former schools CEO Gregory Thornton — who stepped down abruptly last month — ordered the first layoffs the district had seen in at least a decade.

He said at the time that the reduction in force, which eliminated more than 150 positions, would be the only one of his tenure, but he said it was necessary to make the district more financially stable.

Earlier this year, district officials said that at least 54 positions would be cut from the central office, and that the number could include vacancies. Officials declined to provide the number of school-based staff placed on "surplus" status as a result of principals cutting their budgets next school year.

Jimmy Gittings, president of the city's administrators union, said his only concern was for approximately 20 assistant principals who were in the district's surplus pool. He said he felt confident they would be absorbed by principals by the start of next school year.

"I'm quite sure that management knows by now that I will not accept any layoff of administrators in my union," Gittings said.

English, however, concluded her letter by ensuring members that the union will make sure that all union protections are employed during the layoff process, and asked that "teachers be ready to show up, stand up, and be counted when the union asks for a show of strength."