For many years, AEA 267 employees under the Master Contract between the AEA 267 Education Association and the Agency were issued contracts for the following year prior to the beginning of April even if negotiations between the Association and the Agency were not completed. The Agency was doing this in good faith so that employees would know their employment status. In discussions with the Association during the summer of 2013 it was brought to the Agency’s attention that this practice was in violation of Iowa State Code 279.13.
Iowa Code 279.13.1 states that contracts issued must contain the following information for them to be valid:
- They must be in writing;
- They must state the number of contract days;
- They must state the annual compensation to be paid;
- And, they must contain any other matters that are mutually agreed upon.
By issuing individual contracts that do not have the correct annual compensation, the Agency was violating the code. This became an issue when individuals attempting to be hired elsewhere were not released from their Agency contracts, preventing them from being hired by a new employer. The Association made the Agency aware that under 279.13.3 employees have 21 days from when they are issued a legal contract to either sign their new contracts or resign. Because the contracts that the Agency issued were in violation of the law they were not valid and therefore the Agency could not hold these individuals as it was within the 21 days from the date when the Association and the Agency came to agreement on the 2013-2014 Master Contract.
As was the case last year, the Agency has again this year agreed with the Association not to issue contracts until a settlement is reached for the 2015-2016 Master Contract. Under Iowa Code 279.15.1 the Agency must issue Reduction in Force (RIF)/Termination notices no later than April 30. Because “teacher” contracts continue, if you do not receive a RIF notice you will have a contract issued to you after the Association and the Agency settle the Master Contract.
Although issuing individual contracts after the Master Contract settlement is different from the past practice of the Agency, the Agency and the Association are working together to do what is best for the employees while also following the law. If you have any questions regarding this information please feel free to contact either Kathy Enslin or Jack Clement, ISEA Director (Hawkeye UniServ Unit).