UPDATED: EPEA strike begins, classes canceled this week

After a night of continued negotiations between the Eagle Point School District administration and employees, an employee strike began at 6 a.m. this morning, and classes will be canceled the rest of the week.Jamie Lusch

After a night of continued negotiations between the Eagle Point School District administration and employees, an employee strike began at 6 a.m. this morning, and classes will be canceled the rest of the week.

Classes will resume on Monday, district officials said.

Dave Carrell, vice president for the Eagle Point Education Association, said about 200 employees are outside the district administration building with signs and banners while negotiations continue. Administration and employees have been working since 1 p.m. Monday.

"Both sides gave a little and worked their way toward consensus," Carrell said. "They are still working as we speak."

The stalled negotiations stem from employee union concerns like the district subcontracting out transportation jobs and adequate teacher prep time. Administrators have countered by saying meeting union demands would require layoffs and slashing school days.

"Nobody wanted to do this," Carrell said this morning from the scene. "We've been trying to stop this for 14 months. We've drawn our line in the sand, and now we've got to defend it."

The district's schools were originally closed today because of ongoing negotiations.

District human resources director Mike Remick said he believes some key issues have been resolved, especially subcontracting.

"We are hopeful that we have some resolution on that," Remick said.

District administration officials said they think a resolution of some kind is possible today, but that's not definite.

"If it doesn't come to some understanding, it's not going to be for lack of trying," Remick said.

— Ryan Pfeil


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