|WISNER-PILGER EDUCATION|||||CASE NO. 71|
|ASSOCIATION, An Unincorporated||||
|v.|||||FINDINGS AND ORDER|
|THE SCHOOL DISTRICT||||
|OF WISNER-PILGER IN||||
|THE COUNTY OF CUMING,||||
|IN THE STATE OF||||
|NEBRASKA, A Political||||
Theodore L. Kessner of Crosby, Pansing, Guenzel & Binning, for plaintiff.
John R. Higgins of Higgins, Higgins & Huber, for defendant.
Before Baylor, Kratz, Grant and DeBacker, Judges
This is an action to establish wages and a proper Index Salary Schedule, pursuant to Section 48-818, R.R.S. Nebraska 1943, as amended. Plaintiff Education Association (hereinafter referred to as "Association"), in its Petition filed herein, alleges that "the terms and conditions of employment which are unsettled and in dispute are: "Base Salary [and] Factors of Index Salary Schedule." Those phrases, and other index-salary-schedule jargon, are more fully explained in our Findings and Order entered February 15, 1973, in Scottsbluff Education Association vs. school District of Scottsbluff , Case No. 70.
Defendant school district of Wisner-Pilger (hereinafter referred to as "School District") in its Answer admitted every allegation of the Plaintiff's Petition and further pleaded that "the existing salary schedule between the parties to this action is an unconventional schedule with eight-and six-hour intervals to the horizontal lanes, to-wit: Columns BA, BA+8, BA+16, BA+24, BA+30, and BA+36; that it would be for the best interest of the State of Nebraska and the parties to this action if the Honorable Court would develop a schedule that was uniform with the other schools in the State of Nebraska, and more particularly, uniform with the other schools in the Northeast Conference, of which Defendant is a member." Defendant, in effect, has thus become a Cross-Petitioner praying that the Court establish a "conventional salary schedule, wages of employment and other terms, tenure and conditions of employment, all as required by the Status of the State of Nebraska." Both parties admitted that they are subject to the provisions of the Nebraska Teachers' Professional Negotiations act(Section 79-1287, et. seq. R.R.S. Nebraska), but that the provisions of that act were exhausted without resolution of the dispute between the parties.
Section 48-818, R.R.S. Nebraska, provides as follows:
The findings and order or orders may establish or alter the scale of wages, hours of labor, or conditions of employment, or any one or more of the same. In making such findings and order or orders, the Court of Industrial Relations shall establish rates of pay and conditions of employment which are comparable to the prevalent wage rates paid and conditions of employment maintained for the same or similar work of workers exhibiting like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions. In establishing wage rates the court shall take into consideration the overall compensation presently received by the employees, having regard not only to wages for time worked, including vacations, holidays, and other excused time, and all benefits received, including insurance and pensions, and the continuity and stability of employment enjoyed by the employees. Any order or orders entered may modified on the court's own motion or on application by any of the parties affected, but only upon a showing of a change in the conditions from those prevailing at the time the original order was entered.
The Plaintiff Association contends, and introduced evidence to support its contention, that a $6,550 base salary with an Index of 4x5 (meaning 4% increment in the vertical, or length of service increment, and 5% in the horizontal, or educational achievement, increment), with horizontal steps of BA, BA+8, BA+16, BA+24, BA+30, MA, MA+15, MA+30 and PhD., is required to comport with the statutory requirements of Section 48-818, and that includes "establishing rates of pay and conditions of employment which are comparable with the prevalent wage rates paid and conditions of employment maintained for the same or similar work of workers exhibiting like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions." Defendant's witnesses testified that the school districts which are comparable to the Plaintiff herein were: Bloomfield, Lyons, Madison, Neligh, Oakland-Craig, Pender, Plainview, Pierce, Scribner, Stanton, Tekamah-Herman, Wayne and west Point. Defendant, in its evidence, contended that the schools in the West Husker Conference, to-wit, Columbus-Lakeview, Emerson-Hubbard, Stanton, Wayne, Wakefield, and Madison, were comparable schools to Plaintiff. Defendant further contended that a base salary schedule of $6,450 with a 4x5 index would result in rates of pay and conditions of employment comparable to the prevalent wage rates paid in comparable school districts. It is apparent that of the six comparable schools selected by Defendant in its presentation three are also on the Plaintiff's list of comparable schools. For the purposes of this case, the Court finds that the schools used by both parties are comparable to the Defendant school district.
The Court then turns to the examination of those schools and a comparison of such schools. The only witness presented by the School District testified that the base salary used in the Defendant school district is on the "low side". That witness also testified that the salary schedule used in the Defendant school district was unorthodox and was first used in 1969 and 1970, and that the district had tried unsuccessfully to get the index schedule straightened out. The Defendant's testimony further showed that the existing index schedule was unique in that it provided five steps from the BA to a Masters Degree-each step at a 5% increment. This results in a beginning Masters teacher in the Defendant School District receiving a salary equal to 125% of a beginning teacher with a MA degree. Defendant's evidence showed that this total amount of increase between BA and MA was unique. Apparently, the only other school district with a comparable situation was in West Point in the school year 1971-1972, and that schedule had been changed for the 1972-1973 school year. A witness for the Plaintiff Association also testified that, as far as he knew, Defendant School District was the only one in the state of Nebraska with these specific provisions.
Examination of Exhibit 6 submitted by Plaintiff discloses that of the 13 schools listed thereon, only two have horizontal (or experience) steps other than a nine-hour basis-that is BA, BA+9, BA+27, MA, etc. The other two schools of the 13 have a horizontal step system similar to the Defendant District. Plaintiff's witness further testified that in each of the 13 schools listed in Plaintiff's Exhibit No. 6, work was done by workers (teachers) exhibiting like or similar skills and that the work was done under the same or similar working conditions. We find that to be the fact.
We recognize that in carrying out the provisions of Section 48-818 it is necessary to compare the overall compensation received by the workers, but it is also our statutory duty to establish "rates of pay" which are comparable. We find that the representation of horizontal steps in an index salary schedule affects the rates of pay, as do the horizontal and vertical percentage increments. We have examined all evidence submitted by both parties to this case. We find that the existing 4x5 index should be retained; that the base salary should be raised to $6.550; that the horizontal steps should consist of a BA, BA+9, BA+18, BA+27, and a MA, MA+15, MA+30 and PhD.; that the vertical steps should remain in number as now in effect; that Defendant should continue to furnish insurance coverage at the rate of $11.00 per month.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED:
That the scale of wages for certificated teachers employed by the Defendant School District shall be computed in accordance with a salary schedule having a base salary of $6,550; Index increments of 4% vertically and 5% horizontally, with horizontal steps of BA, BA+9, BA+18, BA+27, MA, MA+15, MA+30 and PhD.; and with vertical steps in each horizontal lane as those vertical steps existing in the present schedule. The defendant shall continue to furnish insurance coverage at the rate of $11.00 per month. Other aspects of the employment of Plaintiff's members shall remain unchanged by this Order.