Employment Attorney on Walkout

Employment Attorney on Walkout


>>THE WALKOUT LED THE PHOENIX
BASED GOLDWATER INSTITUTE TO THREATEN SUPERINTENDENTS WITH A
LAWSUIT. THE THINK TANK CLAIM SOME
DISTRICTS BROKE STATE LAW BY COORDINATING WITH TEACHERS AND
CLOSING SCHOOLS FOR WHAT IT DEEMED AN ILLEGAL STRIKE.
EMPLOYMENT LAWYER BARNEY HOLTSMAN HELPED EXPLAIN THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STRIKE AND A WALKOUT.
WE OFTEN HERE ARIZONA IS A RIGHT TO WORK STATEMENT.
THAT’S A TRUE STATEMENT, CORRECT?
>>THAT’S CORRECT. RIGHT TO WORK IS COMPELLING
EMPLOYEES TO JOIN UNIONS AND WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN BE FORCED
TO JOIN A UNION TO STAY ON YOUR JOB.
SO WHILE IT’S TRUE THAT WE’RE A RIGHT TO WORK STATE, WITH THE
ISSUES WE’RE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT TODAY, DEALING WITH THE
TEACHER WALKOUT, SO BECAUSE THEY CAN’T FORM A UNION AND FORCE
THEIR EMPLOYER TO BARGAIN WITH THEM, THE RIGHT TO WORK ISSUE
DOESN’T COME UP IN THIS ISSUE.>>THERE’S ALSO BEEN A
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TERM STRIKE AND WALKOUT.
CAN YOU STRIKE IN ARIZONA?>>SO CERTAINLY IN A UNIONIZED
WORKFORCE, YOU CAN STRIKE. AND IN A NON-UNIONIZED
WORKFORCE, YOU CAN STRIKE. I THINK IT’S MOSTLY IN THIS
SITUATION, A POLITICAL POSITION DEPENDING ON IF YOU ARE FOR OR
AGAINST WHAT’S BEING DEBATED, YOU WILL CALL IT A STRIKE OR A
WALKOUT PERHAPS. THEY’RE NOT OBJECTING TO THE
POLICIES AND PRACTICES OF THEIR EMPLOYER, THE DISTRICT, OR THE
SUPERINTENDENT. THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT FUNDING
FROM THE STATE LEGISLATURE. AND SO IN A STRIKE SITUATION,
YOU SEE THAT THE EMPLOYEES ARE OBJECTING TO POLICIES AND
PROCEDURES OF THEIR EMPLOYER, AND THEY USUALLY TRY TO DISRUPT
THEIR WORKFORCE OR THEIR WORKPLACE IN ORDER TO GET THOSE
CONCESSIONS FROM THEIR EMPLOYER. HERE THE DISTRICT AND THE
SUPERINTENDENTS HAVE NOT BEEN TREATING IT IN THAT SITUATION
AND HAVEN’T BEEN ALLOWING THE WORKERS TO GO OUT AND GO TO THE
LEGISLATURE AND PETITION AND TO RALLY.
AND SO IT’S NOT REALLY A STRIKE TO ME IN THAT SENSE.
>>THE GOLDWATER INSTITUTE HAS ALREADY SAID THERE’S A
POSSIBILITY OF SOME LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS.
I WANT TO PLAY THIS SOUND BITE.>>REGARDLESS OF THE TERMINOLOGY
YOU USE, WHAT YOU HAVE IS PUBLIC GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES REFUSING TO
HONOR THE CONTRACTS THAT THEY SIGNED, REFUSING TO SHOW UP FOR
WORK AS AN EFFORT TO FORCE THE GOVERNMENT TO DO THEIR WILL.
THAT’S UNDEMOCRATIC, AND IT’S ILLEGAL, AND IT’S DANGEROUS AS A
MATTER OF PRECEDENT BECAUSE WHAT OTHER PUBLIC EMPLOYEES ARE GOING
TO REFUSE TO DO THEIR WORK UNTIL THEIR DEMANDS ARE MET NEXT TIME?
>>OKAY. BARNEY, DO THOSE SOUND LIKE
VALID STATEMENTS? I MEAN SOME POINTS THAT PROBABLY
SOME PEOPLE AT HOME PROBABLY HAVE THE SAME QUESTIONS.
>>THE GOLDWATER INSTITUTE CERTAINLY HAS A POLITICAL
MOTIVATION IN THE WAY THEY DESCRIBE WHAT IS GOING ON AND
THE RAMIFICATIONS OF WHAT IS GOING ON.
EDUCATION IN ARIZONA, THERE IS A CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION THERE,
AND IT’S CONSIDERED A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT IN ARIZONA
THAT YOU BE GIVEN A PUBLIC EDUCATION.
THE CONSTITUTION TALKS ABOUT 180 DAYS OF INSTRUCTION FOR FREE TO
THE PUBLIC. BEYOND THAT, THE LEGISLATURE HAS
CREATED SOME STATUTES THAT DEFINE WHAT THAT 180 DAYS LOOKS
LIKE IN TERMS OF INSTRUCTIONAL MINUTES, AND THEN THEY PUSH DOWN
THE AUTHORITY AND ABILITY TO DEAL WITH HOW THAT ALL PLAYS OUT
TO THE INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS.
IF THE DISTRICTS ARE ALLOWING THEIR EMPLOYEES TO TAKE SOME
TIME OFF, WHETHER IT IS UNDER ESTABLISHED PAID OFF POLICIES OR
IN SOME OTHER MANNER, GENERALLY THE STATE HAS ALLOWED THE
DISTRICTS TO DECIDE HOW TO GO ABOUT ENSURING THAT THE STUDENTS
GET THEIR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO 180 DAYS OF FREE EDUCATION.
>>WHAT ABOUT EMPLOYEES? JUST THIS WEEK I OVERHEARD A
DISTRICT EMPLOYEE SAYING, I’M NOT GETTING A PAYCHECK THIS
WEEK, AND THAT’S GOING TO HURT ME.
>>AND THAT’S A VERY UNFORTUNATE PART OF ALL OF THIS IS THERE ARE
SOME EMPLOYEE WHO’S ARE HOURLY EMPLOYEES, WHO ONLY GET PAID
WHEN THEY WORK. AND SO IF THEY DON’T HAVE ANY
SORT OF LEAVE BUILT UP OR CERTAIN RIGHTS, IF THEY DON’T
SHOW UP TO WORK, THEY’RE NOT GOING TO GET PAID, AND THAT IS
THE LAW, AND THAT’S UNFORTUNATE.>>WHAT IS THE OBLIGATION OF THE
DISTRICT TO THAT EMPLOYEE, THAT TEACHER WHO SAYS, I’M HERE.
I’M READY TO WORK?>>I THINK THE FIRST PLACE YOU’D
HAVE TO LOOK IS THEIR CONTRACTS. ALL TEACHERS HAVE A YEARLY
CONTRACT WITH THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, AND SO THAT PROBABLY
DISCUSSES WHEN THEY’RE ABLE TO COME ON CAMPUS, WHEN THEY’RE
ABLE TO WORK, WHAT’S REQUIRED OF THEM.
MOST OF THEM HAVE SOME SORT OF LANGUAGE.
MOST EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS HAVE SOME SORT OF LANGUAGE THAT
YOU’LL DO THE WORK THAT IS PROVIDED TO YOU IN THE TIME
PERIODS THAT WE PROVIDE IT TO YOU.
SO WHILE THEY MAY NOT AGREE WITH THE DECISION OF SOME OF THEIR
COLLEAGUES TO WALK OUT, IF THE SCHOOL DECIDES TO CLOSE FOR
WHATEVER REASON, WHETHER IT’S THIS ISSUE, WHETHER THERE’S A
HEALTH RISK, WHATEVER HAPPENS, THEY HAVE TO ABIDE BY THE
DECISION OF THEIR EMPLOYER.

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