Dear NATA Members,

Before we talk about the fact that mediation has ended let me give you a bit of history.

We believe that the city employees who purchase health insurance through the City of North Adams have been overpaying since at least 2005 -- to the tune of $600,000 or more. Our contract states that the City will pay 70% of our medical insurance.We entered into an agreement to try to mediate our differences with the city in the spring of 2009.

The state mediator -- -- who was trying to help both sides come to a settlement over our grievance that the city failed to pay its 70% share -- ended mediation last week. He did so because the mayor failed to provide him with the documents he requested by the deadline. The mediator had asked the mayor to provide documents that proved the city had paid its fair share of the health insurance costs.

We had shown the mediator our documentation months ago. The mediator gave the city weeks to provide its information, but the Mayor did not provide the documents by the dead line. We have been told that the mayor finally did provide the mediator with some documents -- AFTER mediation ended. The mediator is now on leave and won't be back to work for weeks. We expect our students to meet the deadlines that are set for their assignments.  Is it too much to ask the City to meet a deadline set by the state mediator?

The other component of this is that their attorney is trying to suggest we walked away from mediation and is denying that they were late in getting the mediator information.  This is simply not true. But enough of this back and forth.

The City would like us to go back into mediation.  We are completely willing to sit down with the city to talk about this.  We don’t need to wait for the mediator to come back from what could be an extended leave. So, we believe the best course of action is to set dates for a grievance hearing and to meet with city representatives in the mean-time, if they would like to.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any thoughts, questions, or concerns that you may have regarding this matter.  We will keep you updated as this landscape changes and will be having either building meetings or a membership meeting soon.




"Who dares to teach must never cease to learn."

-- John Cotton Dana
Page last updated: Nov. 20, 2009  -- Eileen Gloster
School Committee Hears Unions' Presentation
detailing evidence that the City overcharged Employees nearly  $700,000; both sides agree to put grievance on hold

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, on behalf on NATA and the Para professionals, NATA officers presented to the School Committee evidence that the city has failed to pay its fair share of the health insurance premiums of city employees and retirees. This evidence included updated numbers from FY 2009.

During the public hearing, School Committee members listened to the presentation and asked several questions. When the presentation concluded, the Committee voted to take the matter under advisement.  Because the union presented such a great deal of new information to the committee,  NATA and the Para Professionals agreed to give the School Committee additional time to review the material.  The unions also offered to sit down with the committee to discuss the numbers in greater detail and to discuss possible remedies.  

If the unions are not satisfied with the remedies put forth by the school committee, our final recourse in the grievance process is to bring our case to arbitration. At that point, a state arbiter will hear the issue and make a ruling.  At our hearing we presented some updated 2009 data that we are currently adding to this site. 
A letter from the NATA president before we went to our Nov. 4 hearing