|BRULE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION, An|||||CASE NO. 428|
|v.|||||OPINION AND ORDER|
|SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER 17, KEITH||||
|COUNTY, NEBRASKA, A Political||||
|Subdivision, Also Known as BRULE||||
For the Plaintiff: Theodore L. Kessner.
For the Defendant:Kelley Baker.
Before: Judges Davis, Gradwohl, and Berkheimer.
This matter came on for a determination of wages and other conditions of employment for the Brule Public School teachers for the 1981-1982 school contract year pursuant to Section 48-818. Brule is a Class II school district having 15.5 (full time equivalent) teachers and a student enrollment for 1980-1981 of 145 students. The parties stipulated that there is one area of dispute: base salary. The Commission has jurisdiction of the parties and of the subject matter.
The controlling statute is Section 48-818, which states:
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 Commission 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 commission shall take into consideration the overall compensation presently received by the employees, having regard not only to wages for time actually worked but also to wages for time not 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 be modified on the commission'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 parties stipulated that the work, skills, and working conditions of the teachers employed by the Brule Public Schools and the teachers employed at the compared to school districts are similar, and satisfy the standards set forth in Section 48-818 to permit a comparison of terms and conditions of employment if included in the array of compared to school districts by the Commission. Both parties presented evidence concerning teacher wages and conditions of employment in the public schools of Arthur, Big Springs, Lewellen, McPherson Co. (Tryon), Venango, and Wallace. In addition, the Association presented evidence as to the public school in Palisade. The District, likewise, presented evidence as to the public school in Wheatland.
In selecting employments for the purpose of comparisons to arrive at comparable and prevalent wage rates and conditions of employment in accordance with Section 48-818, the question is whether, as a matter of fact, the employments selected for comparisons are sufficiently similar and have enough like characteristics or qualities to make comparison appropriate in that situation. Fraternal Order of Police v. County of Adams , 205 Neb. 682, 685, 289 N.W.2d 535, 537 (1980); Omaha Ass'n of Firefighters v. City of Omaha , 194 Neb. 436, 441, 231 N.W.2d 710, 713 (1975); Crete Educ. Ass'n v. School Dist. of Crete , 193 Neb. 245, 255, 226 N.W.2d 752, 758 (1975). Since this is a factual determination to be made in each case, the use of a particular array in one case does not require that the same group of employments would be appropriate in a difference case. Crete Educ. Assn v. School Dist. of Crete , 193 Neb. 245, 255, 226 N.W.2d 752, 758 (1975).
The evidence in this case as to the compared to school districts, in addition to the stipulation as to work skills and working conditions, consists of the size and ranking of the schools by student enrollment, miles from Brule, and community of interest of the other schools with Brule, especially concerning athletic competition.
Table 1 sets out some of the information about the school districts in the proposed arrays.
From the evidence in this case, it is determined that a suitable array for the purposes of Section 48-818 should consist of teachers in the following school districts: Arthur, Big Springs, Lewellen, McPherson Co. (Tryon), Venango, and Wallace. They were agreed to by the parties, constituting six of the seven schools presented by the Association and six of the seven schools presented by the District. They have a similarity in student enrollment and in geographic proximity, as well as being members of the same athletic conference.
We decline to include Palisade and Wheatland for the reason that to do so would detract from the quality of the array of the six conference schools agreed upon by the parties. See Butte Educ. Assn v. School Dist. , 5 CIR 232 (1981), Rosalie Faculty Assn v. Rosalie Public Schools , 5 CIR 82 (1980), Spencer Educ. Assn v. School Dist. , 3 CIR 298 (1977). It is not necessary to determine whether or not in other circumstances these schools should be included in an array used to resolve that industrial dispute. See Crete Educ. Ass'n v. School Dist. , 193 Neb. 245, 255, 226 N.W.2d 752, 758 (1975).
3. Determination as to "Overall Compensation."
Section 48-818 states that "In establishing wage rates the commission shall take into consideration the overall compensation presently received by the employees, having regard not only to wages for time actually worked but also to wages for time not 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." This rule of overall compensation does not require an identity of benefits, but that the overall compensation be "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." These determinations must be made on the basis of the evidence introduced by the parties in the trial of the case. The determinations under Section 48-818, R.R.S. 1943, may, therefore, vary from case to case depending upon the evidence introduced by the parties.
The one item for determination by the Commission is: base salary.
The evidence establishes the following salary and fringe benefit comparisons as compiled in Table 2. The actual salaries currently being paid at Brule are not set out in the table.
In making the comparisons required under Section 48-818, the Association seeks to allocate to Brule's halftime teacher one-half of the housing and utility allowance being received by Arthur County's teachers and the School District seeks to exclude that allowance. Based upon the evidence presented we find that the half-time teacher at Brule should be credited with half of the housing and utility allowance when placed upon Arthur's fringe benefit schedule. The mean and median calculations in Table 2 therefore reflect the Association's figures for fringe benefits and overall compensation.
Applying the statutory criteria of Section 48-818 to the evidence in this case, we find that effective at the beginning of the 1981-1982 school contract year, the base salary amount for Brule teachers shall be $11,300.00. This represents a standard salary schedule of $234,588.00 (base salary amount, $11,300.00, times staff index factor, 20.76), fringe benefits of $18,654.60 and an overall compensation of $253,242.60.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
The base salary amount for Brule Public School teachers shall be $11,300.00, effective at the beginning of the 1981-1982 school year.
This Order shall be effective for wages and conditions of employment with respect to the 1981-1982 school year. The adjustments resulting from this Order shall be made ratably over the twelve months of the school contract year. The amount due for the portion of the school contract year already elapsed shall be paid as soon as feasible following the entry of this Order.
All Judges assigned to the panel in this case join in the entry of this Opinion and Order.
Entered November 6, 1981.