A Study of Grievances from Minnesota Teacher Contracts with Emphasis on Contract Language

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


In 1971, Minnesota's Public Employee Labor Relations Act (PELRA) went into effect through the legislation of M.S. 179.61 - 179.76. This study categorized all the grievances brought under PELRA to the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) in St. Paul, Minnesota, by teachers and organizations of teachers in public schools from 1971 through 1977.

There were in excess of 150 cases that went through mediation/ arbitration and at least another 150 cases where mediation services were requested. Settlement in these latter 150 cases was reached without the BMS, however they were tabulated to further illustrate where grievance action is taking place.

The methodology involved the reading of the arbitration awards with an attempt to determine trends and causes for disagreement in these areas: salary, leaves, benefits, evaluation, seniority and other areas discovered in the review. Resources included the BMS files. Public Sector Arbitration Awards, which are bulletins from the Industrial Relations Service Bureau, published by Labor Relations Press, P.0. Box 569, Fort Washington, Pa., 19034, and the Minnesota School Boards Association bulletins of Grievance Arbitration Awards. The study also includes contracts which demonstrate language defects which tend to result in disputes. Contracts which demonstrate language which is likely not to result in grievances were also reviewed.

Statistics employed are descriptive. Pertinent data was placed on computer cards. The data presently identified includes the year, the BMS file number, the district number, congressional district, district size, bargaining agent, category of grievance and its resolution.

The study identified examples of contract language where grievances are most likely to occur as well as examples which could avoid them. Hopefully this will be useful for teachers and school boards to improve contract language in an effort to avoid misunderstanding which result in grievances, time lost, and expense.

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