|WHEATLAND EDUCATION ASSOCIATION,|||||CASE NO. 361|
|An Unincorporated Association,||||
|v.|||||OPINION AND ORDER|
|SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER 112, PERKINS||||
|COUNTY, NEBRASKA, a/k/a WHEATLAND||||
|SCHOOL SYSTEM, A Political Subdivision,||||
For the Petitioner: Theodore L. Kessner
For the Respondent: Leonard P. Vyhnalek.
Before: Judges Berkheimer, Gradwohl, and Kratz.
This matter came on for trial for a determination of wages and other conditions of employment pursuant to Section 48-818. As agreed in a joint report of the parties the issues for resolution by the Commission are the establishment of a base salary and the number of steps and columns in the 4 x 4 index salary schedule for the 1980-1981 contract year. The Commission has jurisdiction of the parties and of the subject matter.
The controlling statute is Section 48-818, which states:
The findings and orders 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. An 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.
Petitioner introduced evidence that teachers exhibit like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions in the following nine school districts: Benkelman, Culbertson, Hayes Center, Maywood, Palisade, Stratton, Trenton, Venango, and Wauneta. Respondent introduced evidence that teachers exhibit like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions in the following eight school districts: Bartley, Brule, Haigler, Palisade, Paxton, Stratton, Wallace, and Venango. There are three school districts common to both parties' exhibits: Palisade, Stratton, and Venango.
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 purpose of Section 48-818 consists of teachers in the following school districts: Bartley, Brule, Culbertson, Hayes Center, Palisade, Paxton, Stratton, Trenton, Venango, and Wallace. We find that Haigler should not be included in the comparison array based on the fact that total student enrollment at Wheatland (199 students) is more than three times that of Haigler, and on the existence of a num-
ber of other comparable employments. We find, primarily on the basis of student enrollment, that Benkelman (381 students) and Wauneta (308 students) should be excluded. The parties agree on
Palisade (107 students). By excluding Benkelman and Wauneta we have a more compact array in which, so far as student enrollment is concerned, we do not go farther up from Wheatland's enrollment
than we go down. Maywood is excluded as being a member of a different athletic conference, indicating a lesser community of interest, and because it is substantially more distant from Wheatland (64 miles) than Brule (39 miles) and Wallace (18 miles) which also are not members of the same athletic conference
but which are included on the basis of proximity and enrollment.
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 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 industrial dispute in this matter concerns only the standard duty pay schedule. While the extra duty pay schedule was also subject to collective negotiations between the parties, it does not directly constitute a part of the industrial dispute now before the Commission for settlement. Section 48-818 mandates that "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." The evidence in this matter establishes that the "same or similar work of workers exhibiting like or similar skills" involves the performance of work on the standard duty schedules of the various school districts. It does not, in the matter presently before the Commission, involve work or skills in performing extra duty assignments.
Extra duty assignments are ordinarily a matter of separate contract under the Nebraska teachers continuing contract law. See Section 79-1254; Neal v. School District of York , 205 Neb. 558, 288 N. W. 2d 725 (1980). Work performed under extra duty schedules is likely to involve different work skills than those of the standard duty pay schedule for purposes of Section 48-818. See Fraternal Order of Police v. County of Adams , 205 Neb. 682, 289 N. W. 2d 535 (1980). In cases where the evidence does not establish a similarity of work performed under the standard duty pay schedules of the comparable employments, adjustments must be made in the data for comparison purposes to insure that the Commission fulfills its statutory obligation to establish comparable pay for "the same or similar work." In cases where the extra duty pay is, itself, directly a party of the industrial dispute, the extra duty pay must be established on the basis of work skills comparability under the criteria of Section 48-818.
The school district offered evidence with respect to extra duty pay and "extended contract pay," i.e. pay for time worked after the close of the normal school year. Petitioner objected to the introduction of such evidence although Petitioner's exhibits received in evidence also contained data on extra duty pay. Rulings on Petitioner's objections were deferred. We now overrule the objections and receive the evidence, but having done so we then reach the question of the significance of such evidence and particularly whether, as contended by Respondent, such pay should be included in total compensation where as here the issues are only base salary and the salary index schedule.
The Commission has over the years made different statements with respect to the extra pay issue. Its latest definitive expression appears in Fremont Educ. Ass'n v. School Dist. of Fremont , 3 CIR 492 (1978), in which the Commission said in part:
The basic salary for virtually all Nebraska public school teachers is determined on a standard salary schedule which allows for both experience and educational attainment. Milford Education Association v. School District , 1 CIR 43-1 (1971). The Court has used the total standard salary schedule compensation level with the total fringe benefit cost to arrive at "total teacher compensation." The total teacher compensation concept has provided the Court and the parties with a relatively simple and efficient manner to compare the compensation levels of teachers and to arrive at the prevalent wage rate given the assumption of fungibility of certificated teachers.
....In the future, we will consider such pay as an additional wage for additional work performed by those to whom it is assigned and will determine the extra duty compensation levels as a separate consideration if it is brought before the Court.
The Respondent argues that both extra duty pay and extended contract pay should be included in total compensation. The rationale of the Commission's decision in Fremont, supra , requires where the total teacher compensation concept is used based upon the assumption of fungibility of certified teachers, extra duty pay not be included in total compensation in determining base salaries. We do not believe that the total teacher compensation concept or the assumption of fungibility of certified teachers need dictate our decisions on public school teachers salaries in all cases or for all time. Nevertheless, under the evidence in this case we do not find a basis for departing from the concept or the assumption. Extended contract pay is for a period of time beyond the normal school year for which we determine annual salary. Thus, extended contract pay appears as extraneous to our calculation as extra duty pay. We therefore here include neither extra duty pay nor extended contract pay in total compensation in adjusting base salary.
The two items for determination by the Commission, upon which the parties have not agreed previously, are base salary and the number of steps and columns in the 4x4 index salary schedule for the 1980-1981 school contract year. The evidence establishes the following salary and fringe benefit comparisons as compiled in Table 2.
Applying the statutory criteria of Section 48-818 to the evidence in this case, we find that effective at the beginning of the 1980-1981 school contract year, the base salary amount for Wheatland teachers should be $10,680.00 and that the number of steps and columns in the current 4 x 4 index salary schedule should remain unchanged. This is a standard salary schedule of $231,115.20 (base salary amount, $10,680, times staff index factor, 21.64) and agreed upon fringe benefits of $12,261.60 making an overall compensation of $243,376.80.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
1. The base salary amount for Wheatland teachers shall be $10,680.00, effective at the beginning of the 1980-1981 school year.
2. The present salary index schedule shall remain unchanged.
This Order shall be effective for wages and conditions of employment with respect to the 1980-1981 school contract year.
All Judges assigned to the panel in this case join in the entry of this Opinion and Order.
Entered 23, 1980.