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Anne Arundel teachers union says school system is making teachers work beyond contracted hours

The Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County wants to open its bargaining sessions with Anne Arundel County Public Schools to the public, which it said will allow people to hear and see the merit of their argument in negotiations, which have reached an impasse.

“AACPS is holding our wage package hostage to unfair, unsafe, and unsustainable asks at the bargaining table which we hope will be resolved through the impasse process. We will not work for less than we have rightfully earned. We will not work for free,” President Russell Leone said in a statement Friday.

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Leone sent a list of alleged contract violations to Superintendent George Arlotto on behalf of all employees in Unit 1 this week.

Leone said the system is forcing teachers to use sick leave and denying the opportunity to teach remotely after exposure to COVID. The union also said teachers are working more than the 37.5 hours required under contract due to additional work caused by the new BrightSpace online learning platform, crowded classes, teacher vacancies, and more.

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Teachers are being asked to work during lunch, TAAAC alleges, and planning time is also being lost to additional duties. Substitutes are not being provided for classes regularly, and teachers who cover classes are not being provided with compensatory time or a reduced schedule later, TAAAC said.

Leone said in the grievance that TAAAC wants the system to start paying teachers their per diem rate for the extra work resulting from violations, and asked the system to stop the violations.

The grievance was rejected by Arlotto according to schools spokesman Bob Mosier, who said Leone had no standing to file it under the terms of the Unit 1 negotiated agreement.

“Our teachers are doing amazing work under very, very difficult circumstances. It is, however, disingenuous for the teachers union president to file a grievance on which he knows he has no standing, demand negotiations when he knows that process has reached the impasse stage, and erroneously imply teachers are working for less money this year than they were last year. Playing loose with the facts doesn’t bring resolution to key issues,” he said in an email.

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Friday TAAAC said it would file a grievance against the school system as a result.

“They continue to mismanage the working conditions of school staff, from a lack of clear and consistent safety guidance that supports the physical and mental wellbeing of our school community to the egregious and out-of-control workloads our educators experience,” the union said in a statement Friday.

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