COLUMBUS, Ohio – January 4, 2023 – In a major victory for Columbus students and educators, Arbitrator Cynthia Stanley has sustained CEA’s grievance regarding nine positions in the District’s Project Connect program. Project Connect employees work primarily to support vulnerable and unhoused youth within the District. In July 2022, Columbus City Schools unilaterally removed these positions from the Union’s bargaining unit, implementing cuts to pay and benefits for some employees and stripping them of contractual protections.
In a decision issued December 30, 2022, Arbitrator Stanley ordered the District to immediately restore these nine positions to the bargaining unit, to make whole with interest each employee who suffered loss of pay and benefits, and to remit to CEA back dues with interest for each unilaterally removed bargaining unit position.
Project Connect CEA Members previously appeared before the Columbus City Schools Board of Education to protest the decision and its impact on CCS students, wrote an open letter to the Board, and even took their appeal public on WOSU’s “All Sides with Ann Fisher”. The District refused to reconsider its decision, and as a result the Union was forced to file a Grievance, as well as an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the State Employment Relations Board.
Though CEA made every attempt to resolve this grievance informally, we are satisfied that the arbitrator agreed that the CEA-CCS Master Agreement was violated. We are also pleased that due to our Union’s strong enforcement of our hard-won Master Agreement, the District’s most vulnerable students will continue to be served by CEA professionals.
The Columbus Education Association is the union representing nearly 4,500 teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, psychologists, and other education professionals in Columbus City Schools.