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Hundreds submit appeals over teacher pay

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Over one hundred appeals filed in regards to the Competitive Wage Act remain under review by the Department of Administration. But hundreds of others, specifically with the Guam Federation of Teachers, have made their way to the Civil Service Commission.

"We want to schedule the grievance to move forward for the teachers so we can get resolution for it," detailed David Babauta. Tuesday afternoon a status call was held at the CSC for grievances on the Competitive Wage Act, more commonly referred to as The Hay Study.

As we reported, DOA started accepting appeals over the summer specifically for employees to ask for the pay grade assigned to their position to be re-examined. At the same time, several other employees, namely those in the Department of Education, were concerned about the change in their step placement and the affect it may have on their seniority. Babauta, GFT's field representative, who represented the over dozens of cases before the CSC today, explained some of the concerns.

"The fact that a lot of the longtime employees were not being recognized for their services and it kind of leaves a bad feeling for them because of the fact their certain length of service and their tenures have not been recognized, they were just all slotted into whatever they feel it was closest to so that upset them and they feel that they have a right because of the grievance to file one," he said.

GFT currently has 17 cases before the CSC. Babauta says that figure doesn't represent people but 17 schools so far with even more pending. Teachers had filed complaints separately by school but many of the complaints were similar in nature. As we reported, DOE had indicated there were at least 980 employees who had filed grievances over the Competitive Wage Act. Today, in the scheduling of cases, the CSC moved to consolidate them into one.

Rebecca Perez is the legal counsel for the DOE, saying, "I don't have an objection to consolidate the 17 that have been called out now and because I think the dates will be set far enough out if you decide you want to consolidate additional cases, for representing signatories on the exact same issue, I don't think DOE will have objections at that time."

The grievance hearing was set for next year on March 3 and March 5 for all 17 cases. And while these hearings are a long way from today, Babauta says it's a step in reaching some resolution for the teachers. "If they were happy with it, they wouldn't have filed a grievance," he said. "So you could tell they weren't appreciated in that part."
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