GFT Not Happy With Education Board’s List of Possible Mediators

125

Guam – The Guam Federation of Teachers Union is not satisfied with a list of possible mediators provided to them by the Guam Education Board for teacher contract negotiations.

GEB Member Barry Mead last week sent GFT President Matt Rector a list of possible mediators made up of private attorneys, and attorneys from the Public Defender’s and Attorney General’s offices.

Mead had previously called off all negotiations with the union until a mediators named.

In an email response to Mead’s list of potential mediators on Guam Rector pointed out that the two private attorney’s on Mead’s list formerly worked for the union which Rector called a conflict of interest.

He also says that the Attorney General is already the legal representative for GEB and that public defenders can not serve as mediators because it would be against their charter.

The letter goes on to say that GFT is composing their own list of possible mediators and could use some feedback from the board to move the process along.

Rector says he wants to know if the board would consider using a non-attorney as their mediator.

“We’re actually reaching out to people like social workers… respected professionals who professionally help people get along,” Rector told PNC. “We think those might be better served for the position of mediator and save the government a lot of money.”

GFT is has also tried contacting Inafa’ Maolek to see if the non-profit organization that specializes in conflict resolution would be willing to take the case. Rector says Inafa’ Maolek has not yet returned their calls.

Mead last week called off all negotiations with GFT until a mediators is named, saying that meetings between the two parties so far have been unproductive. Originally the Board was asking for Federal Mediator but decided to offer local options after Rector complained that it would take too long and cost too much money to bring someone in from off-island.

The current contract is set to expire in November.

Read Rector’s reply to Mead:

Dear Mr. Mead,

Buenas Yan Hafa Adai!!!  Thank you for agreeing with us to avoid expending large amounts of GovGuam’s very limited resources by utilizing someone from on island to serve as a mediator for our negotiations.  Unfortunately, we don’t believe that anyone on the list you presented to us would be acceptable for the following reasons.

1.      Both private attorneys that you listed have worked for the GFT in the past and we believe that this would be a conflict of interest.

2.      We don’t believe that anyone from the Public Defender’s office can be involved as it would be a violation of their charter.

3.      We don’t believe that anyone from the Attorney General’s office can legally act in the capacity of Mediator because they are not a neutral third party.  By Statute they are the legal representatives for the Government of Guam, including GEB which once again leads to a conflict of interest.

Therefore we are trying to compose a list of possible mediators, but in order to accelerate this process we request the following information:

1.      Private attorneys work for approximately $250+ per hour.  Does the GEB have the authorization to expend this kind of money?  We would need proof of authorization for the expenditure of these funds.  GEB/DOE does not have a very good track record of paying their bills in a timely manner, at least not to teachers or the GFT.

2.      Would you be opposed to using a non-attorney to mediate?

3.      Would you be opposed to using a mediator from Inafa’ Maolek? We have attempted to contact them but have not had any response yet.

We are working as rapidly as possible to compile a list of people that would be willing to act as a mediator that is acceptable to both sides and we encourage you to continue your efforts as well.

 

TOGETHER WE WIN

Matt Rector
PresidentGFT Guam’s Local Union
AFT Local 1581, AFL-CIO