Not All Contracts are Created Equal

Contract Language Questions? Call NSEA

A recent request from a local negotiator shed light on the fact that not all negotiated agreements are created equal.

The negotiator was reviewing contract language bargained by other associations. After looking at contracts from other local associations, the negotiator sent a question through NSEA’s website to the organizational  specialist assigned to that local. The question read this way:

“As I look through Negotiated Agreements for our array schools, I’m finding a LOT of Grievance Procedures included at the end of the agreement. Is that something we need to be including? Our board already has a grievance policy in the staff handbook that was written by their law firm. Could we use that? I’m looking for guidance.”

As negotiators return to the table this fall, many are finding the need to clarify language or add new components to their negotiated agreements, according to NSEA Director of Collective Bargaining Randy Gordon.

“While language pulled from other local association agreements offers a starting point, it’s important to also reference the NSEA’s Sample Negotiated Agreement,” he said.

“The basic components of a negotiated agreement are available through the Members Only section of or through your organizational specialist,” he said.

Those basic components include:

  • Salary and placement language
  • Leave categories
  • Job protections
  • Extra duty assignments
  • Insurance benefits

The sample language is regularly reviewed and was recently updated to include language addressing a recent Nebraska Supreme Court decision on grievance procedures, so negotiators should use it to stay current on issues affecting changes to the agreement, he said.

Regardless of how agreement changes are drafted, it’s always important to include precise language and timelines, when appropriate, and to adjust outdated wording. If negotiators have questions, never hesitate to contact your NSEA organizational specialist at 1-800-742-0047.