Harrisburg Teachers Headed to Mediation
Saturday, October, 15, 2016
After months of negotiations resulted in failure to reach an agreement concerning their new contract, Harrisburg Unit District 3 teachers and the Harrisburg school board will now enter mediation. The two sides have requested a federal mediator oversee the proceedings.
According to Superintendent Michael Gauch, “We’ve always been able to hammer it out, but we can’t seem to get there this time.”
According to officials from the school district, the groups have met four or five times to negotiate the new contract. Both sides expect the new deal to be for one year due to state funding uncertainty, but the sticking point seems to be finances. Gauch stated he believes the groups are just far enough away that third party intervention is necessary.
The mediator will be assigned by the National Labor Relations Board for free. He or she will work separately with the parties moving back and forth in discussions until they get closer on demands. According to the Harrisburg Education Association president “We are very hopeful mediation will help us settle the contract.”
Both sides appear amicable, even though they are far from a settlement. The teachers union stated it is not thinking about a strike at this time. They remain hopeful that mediation will be successful. The last time a strike was deemed necessary was in 1992.
The most recent contract expired on June 30thand included and two percent pay increase for teachers. All 127 teachers, as well as school administrators are willing to work under the old contract until a new one is in place.