Memo To:   All Buffalo Teachers

From:         Philip Rumore, President, BTF

Date:          January 11, 2023 


Subject:    Updates – Negotiations, Highmark BC/BS Problems, Wallet Cards

As per our last correspondence, the BTF and District will be submitting documentation required by the Fact-Finder on Friday, January 13, 2023. Unless he has further questions, based on our meetings and submissions to him, he will make his non-binding recommendations.


How long that will take is dependent on the number of issues he has to review.


Our guess is two (2) – three (3) weeks.


We have again received questions relating to the fact-finding process.


As per our previous correspondence, here is an overview:


Q: What is fact-finding?
A: Following a Declaration of Impasse, PERB will appoint a fact-finder to assist in the resolution of a Collective Bargaining Agreement, typically following mediation sessions. The fact-finder is appointed through PERB. If either party, or both, feels that further mediation efforts will not bring about an agreement, the party/parties may so inform the Director of Conciliation, in writing, and request the assignment of a fact-finder.


The fact-finder, after designated and appointed by PERB, inquires into the causes and circumstances of the impasse, along with the positions being advanced by the parties on the disputed issues, through oral and/or written testimony, exhibits, briefs, etc. The fact-finder may hold a hearing to receive such evidence. The fact-finder may also conduct a limited amount of mediation.


Q: Is fact-finding binding?
A: No. The fact-finder is empowered only to make public recommendations for resolving the impasse. Either party is free to accept or reject the fact-finder’s report and recommendations, in whole or in part. The report and recommendations are made public five days after their transmission to the parties.


Q: Can a Mediator order fact-finding?
A: No. The Mediator may suggest that fact-finding is an appropriate next step when the parties are at impasse, but fact-finding typically follows the request of one or both parties. PERB’s Director of Conciliation makes the determination regarding the assignment of a fact-finder, following the request by one or both parties, and will likely consult with the mediator when making a determination whether or not the assignment of a fact-finder is appropriate.


Q: Can one side refuse?
A: There is no clear precedent on this issue, as far as we can determine. Once a fact-finder is assigned, the fact-finder is empowered to issue a public report. If one party refuses to participate, the fact-finder could issue a report reflecting that one side refused to participate, likely siding with the other side that decides to participate.

In addition, should one side refuse or otherwise fail to act in good faith in negotiations at any point in time, including during fact-finding, that could be considered an improper practice for bad faith bargaining.


Q: Is there a time frame?
A: No. The fact-finder has discretion on how to proceed, and the timeline can vary significantly based on a variety of factors. The fact-finder may hold mediation meetings or proceed to a hearing to issue a report, which may include testimony and/or written submissions and briefs. The statutory framework encourages further mediation before issuing a report. Once the fact-finder has received the facts and arguments from both sides, the fact-finder will issue a non-binding written report.

Problems with BC/BS Coverage
The problems some are having in securing Highmark BC/BS coverage is not just a District problem; it is impacting BC/BS participants in many other organizations.


We have released this information to the media to increase the pressure to rectify the problems.


Please keep track/receipts, etc. of any expenses you incurred as a result of the above problems. We will take action to have you reimbursed.

“Wallet Cards”
We have reprinted what are referred to as “Wallet Cards”. Many already have them; however, to ensure that everyone still does, we are distributing them again this and next week.


Please keep them in your wallet as they contain important information on your representational rights when questioned/meeting with an administrator, i.e. You have a right to have a representative from BTF headquarters present when you are questioned.


In addition, it contains your rights when assaulted/menaced by a student. 

BTF/Buffalo Bills Solidarity Day
In addition to showing our continued solidarity for each other, we encourage teachers to not only wear BTF items but also Buffalo Bills items in support of the Bills and especially Damar Hamlin on Friday, January 13, 2023.


Not even Friday the 13th can undermine our solidarity and support for each other and the Bills.


“Go Bills”

Support for Ukraine
In February 2022, you generously donated to support the people of Ukraine. One hundred percent (100%) of your donations went directly to the refugees displaced by the conflict in Ukraine.


Please consider donating again to fund winter clothing for soldiers that are fighting in the trenches on the front line.

We received this link from one of our teachers. Please use the link below to donate. Your help is appreciated.