St. Louis Teachers’ Union going to trial against district over salary disparities

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By TIM ROWDEN
Editor

An arbitrator for the Class Action Grievance filed by the St. Louis Public Schools Teachers’ Union has ruled in the teachers’ favor, announcing the dispute over salary disparities “arbitrable.”

As a result, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 420, which represents more than 2,000 workers is going to trial against the St. Louis Public School (SLPS) District. The trial could start this week.

“These salary disparities involve public monies,” Sally Topping, president of AFT Local 420 said. “Taxpayers ought to know that the State Appointed Board (SAB) is cheating its employees. We have been asking them to stop for the past 18 months, to no avail. Finally, we are going to trial, and we are confident of victory.”

Arbitrators Gerald Fowler and Mark Suardi will decide whether nearly 1,000 employees must be given salary raises on par with others being paid more, yet holding the same years of service and/or educational level.

The teachers’ union found pay discrepancies ranging from an average of $4,000 to as high as $17,000. Topping brought this to the District’s attention shortly after taking office in July 2017.

Since filing this grievance, Topping said that school district management has made blatant attempts to intimidate employees and deny their right to fair and equitable salaries and treatment.

“The SAB has attempted to intimidate members by sending threatening letters and withholding their raises while at the same time increasing healthcare costs,” Topping said. “Our Union mission is to fight for fairness.  We have told the Arbitrators that we are ready for trial as soon as possible.”

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