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District 9 and the Eagle Point Education Association held their second mediation session on Tuesday, Sept. 9. The session began at 3 p.m. and didn’t conclude until 9:30 p.m. with little apparent movement toward a contract.
On Aug. 13, the district advised EPEA that they would ask for a mediator unless EPEA agreed to rollover the contract for one year and bargain salary and benefits, starting interest based bargaining for the second year. “It does not make sense to rollover the contract with only a vague promise that the district will address our needs next time,” said Debbie Brudevold, EPEA bargaining team member.
The district declared an impasse and held the first mediation session on Aug. 22. Other than both parties agreeing to use a mediator for five meetings or 30 days, whichever comes last, no agreements were reached.
At the conclusion of the Sept 9 mediation session, none of the district’s proposals presented were accepted. “Their proposal is to go to collaborative bargaining,” said Jonathan Bilden, District 9 board chairman. Bilden said they want a committee of labor-management that would handle labor problems in the district.
EPEA summary following the Sept. 9 meeting said “Eagle Point deserves a better future, one that includes not only a fair and equitable contract, but a relationship built on trust and respect.” Representatives said they have heard promises but feel they deserve a commitment.
EPEA lists two items as “the cornerstones of this commitment.” They are:
- An agreement for 2009-10 a contract using Interest Based Bargaining (IBB). They would be trained, with release time for EPEA members of up to 12 days for five members.
- A commitment to use a Labor-Management Committee (LMC). It would consist of five members from the association and five from the district meeting starting this year no later than. They would meet no later than Oct. 15 to resolve the items they listed in their summary and then meet quarterly to discuss and resolve non-grievance issues. Any committee member could suggest items for the agenda. The district would provide training and adequate release time for EPEA members.
The summary from EPEA, at present, lists six LMC items and four IBB items (for 09-10).
“This proposal as listed is not something the district or board wants to come close to,” said Bilden.
“EPEA believes we can work through the issues with the district if the district is willing to address issues. We are a wall-to-wall unit, which in nature has more issues due to the broad differences in employee work assignments,” said Brudevold. “We include members across the board, from transportation to cafeteria staff to classroom teachers, etc. We believe if the district would spend more time on resolving issues and not on avoiding the process, we could reach an agreement.”
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent