Dickinson High School teachers file grievance for more pay for increased workload amid pandemic

(Associated Press | Associated Press)
Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 8:34 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Eighteen Dickinson High School teachers filed a grievance against their school district.

They say they want more pay for the increased workload they had with the hybrid and distance learning models.

All grievants are members of North Dakota United.

The union’s general legal counsel says the teachers have a negotiated agreement that spells out how much time they are allotted in a workday.

It stipulates assigned work time during the school day and unassigned responsibility time, which is usually used to prep for the next day.

But in the COVID-19 climate, that time is being used to deal with distance learning assignments and classes.

Logging online to teach after spending all day in the classroom with face-to-face students is something teachers across the state have learned to do.

But some teachers said this method of educating has led to extra hours they’re not getting paid for.

“We teachers, we understand there are going to be more things to do, do things differently meaning more. However, a great deal of the more we feel as teachers has been piled on us, pandemic or not and that’s really why we’re here,” said DHS social studies teacher David Michaelson.

However, DPS Superintendent Shon Hocker said in his reply, that he doesn’t believe the high school administration or DPS have asked teachers to work more than was outlined in their master agreement.

“This should never be a us versus them, a them versus us, you know scenario. This is about what’s best for students,” said Hocker.

North Dakota United General Legal Counsel Mike Geiermann is hopeful that the two parties can come up with a mutually acceptable resolution.

“I think both of these parties have a lot of admiration for each other and a lot of good will and I think that they’re going to turn their efforts now towards trying to resolve this matter with a solution that’s just and reasonable for everybody involved,” said Geiermann.

The school board denied the grievance.

The is now the second time teachers have brought this complaint to the Dickinson School Board.

Their next steps could be arbitration or litigation.

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