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MailTribune.com
  • School workers set May 8 for Eagle Point strike

    Sides remain deadlocked after 13 months of talks over employee contract
  • Employees in the Eagle Point School District have notified the state that they intend to strike May 8, if no settlement is reached in their standoff with district administrators.
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  • Employees in the Eagle Point School District have notified the state that they intend to strike May 8, if no settlement is reached in their standoff with district administrators.
    The Eagle Point Education Association on Wednesday gave the Oregon Employee Relations Board the required 10 days notice of plans to strike.
    "As I've said before, Eagle Point educators do not want to strike," said EPEA President Dave Carrell.
    The union that represents teachers, other licensed employees and classified staff in the district.
    Carrell said the employee bargaining team hopes to negotiate further with the district and avoid a strike.
    "Our hope is that the district will drop their proposals that don't make sense for students and this community and work with us to move forward," said Carrell.
    The two teams had been bargaining for more than 13 months when employees declared an impasse in late March, putting a timeline to the end of negotiations.
    Each side submitted final contract offers April 4, beginning a 30-day cooling-off period.
    Once the cooling-off period is over, the district has the power to implement part or all of its last contract proposal, and the union has the right to strike.
    In a statement released Wednesday, Superintendent Cynda Rickert reiterated the district's position that its current contract offer is fair and includes raises in employee pay and benefits over the next three years.
    "Unfortunately, the union's contract proposal would raise district costs to an unsustainable level," Rickert said in the statement. "We are disappointed that school district employees have chosen to authorize a strike."
    Rickert said the employees contract offer would push district costs so high that school days would have to be cancelled or teachers would have to be laid off to make up the difference.
    Representatives from the EPEA say the part of the district's proposal they are most concerned with is not related to salaries or benefits, but involves ensuring teacher prep time. They also oppose the possibility of subcontracting out transportation or janitorial services in the future.
    The employee bargaining team plans to meet with district negotiators again on May 1, six days before their proposed strike.
    Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or tristow@mailtribune.com.
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