|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Teacher contract remains elusive

    Stalled negotiations will resume Tuesday
  • No agreement was reached Saturday during a day-long bargaining session between the Medford School District and Medford Education Association.
    • email print
  • No agreement was reached Saturday during a day-long bargaining session between the Medford School District and Medford Education Association.
    The sides swapped proposals, but reported making little to no progress during what was the last bargaining session before school restarts Tuesday amid the district's first teacher strike.
    A brief negotiation session is set to take place Tuesday and a full day of bargaining is scheduled for Wednesday, officials from both groups said.
    "Teachers can not accept a contract that results in lower take-home pay from year to year and must have working conditions that allow them to meet the needs of our students. The district proposals continue to fail to meet that standard," said Nancy Egan, reading a prepared statement on behalf of the MEA.
    "It will be difficult to reach a settlement when the district continues to move its target and ignores ours," said Egan, who is an instructional coach at Hedrick Middle School.
    The workday began at 8 a.m. Saturday for the school district and 10 a.m. for the union inside the Medford Rogue Regency Inn and broke at 9 p.m.
    At about 8 p.m., speaking on behalf of MEA, Lisa North, an instructional coach with the district, said the union was prepared to stay at the bargaining table "as long as progress is being made," but that the district planned to break at 9 p.m.
    "We felt like we were just kind of running in circles today," said Phil Long, Medford School District superintendent.
    Long said the district put two written proposals on the table Saturday, and the union countered with one — but union describes the district's second proposal Saturday as a "partial proposal."
    Neither group answered questions regarding particulars of negotiations, citing confidentiality agreements signed last week.
    "The district has moved several times and I think the concern we have is we haven't seen the association moving," Long said. "In fact, I would probably describe their proposal today was a slight retreat, a regression.
    "In order for us to resolve this we're going to have to find the common ground in this contract."
    While negotiations were in progress, striking teachers picketed around the Holiday Inn and Super 8 hotels in Central Point, where substitute teachers hired by the district reportedly are staying.
    Long said the district was a "little distressed that there is some picketing and intimidation going on," around the hotels.
    Although both parties are scheduled to meet Tuesday, Long said the district's focus that day will be getting kids back in school.
    Today and Monday, the district is providing orientation for incoming substitutes, and administering drug tests and background checks before they enter the classrooms.
    "Of course, we would much rather have our own teachers in those classes with kids at their home schools, but the choices that were made (Saturday) preclude that," Long said. "The union made a decision (Saturday) to not be able to come together and conclude things with us, and that means we now need to focus on getting our schools open on Tuesday, kids have missed too much school."
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-5471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
Reader Reaction

      calendar