Negotiations

Boise Cascade closes its White City plywood mill permanently, 110 jobs will be lost effective Mar. 13. CertainTeed cut about 32 jobs the end of December; Jackson County unemployment was 8.7 percent last month. Headlines: "Pilaf restaurant in Ashland closes", "Nonunion Dow Jones & Co. workers face wage freeze" (owns Mail Tribune and Ashland Daily Tidings) will have salaries frozen for a year. Other headlines: "Macy’s plans to close 11 stores in nine states; Seven Feathers lays off 51 workers; nationally, Walgreen plans to cut 1,000 management jobs; Major retailers have dismal December." With the exception of the CertainTeed information, these were headlines in the Friday, Jan. 9 Mail Tribune.

It is beyond our comprehension how the Eagle Point Education
Association can not only reject the offers made by School District 9,
but ask for a 3.65 percent increase in year one, the CPI (no less than
three percent) the second year plus more money for insurance.
   
We
can only ask-what part of the current economic situation do they not
understand? How can they say Eagle Point has no economic problem?  How
can they face the children in their classrooms whose parents are
unemployed, on free lunch and  have no insurance?
   
EPEA
members are being offered a raise. They should be darn glad that it is
being offered; and yes, it is based on conditions. Conditions are that
there is money to pay for the raises. Simple math.
   
We
wonder if they would settle the contract as it was offered last week if
the administrators who received raises gave up those raises effective
with the signing of the contract? Those raises were given last spring.
Had the union settled early on, the offers were better as were
economics.  Additionally, the administrative contracts called for a
much greater salary increase. It was the administration that requested
the contracts be re-evaluated and reduced to three percent.
   
It’s
time for the public to weigh in on this negotiation fiasco. We, as
taxpayers in District 9, are seeing our money spent on the endless
hours of negotiation and the next session (Thursday, Jan. 15) will
begin at 9 a.m. That means we will be paying for substitutes for that
day. We know many employees and administrators do not pay taxes in our
district, so perhaps they don’t have the vested financial interest, but
as taxpayers we believe this needs to stop. We can only see longer
negotiations meaning less opportunity for any raise as the economy
continues to erode.
NL

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