Manchester City Teachers Union Opts to Try Mediation
Thursday, March, 28, 2019
Though progress was being made in the dispute concerning the Manchester teachers union, the group has opted to try mediation in an effort to resolve their contract issues. The announcement to attempt mediation was made by the chair of the school district’s negotiation’s committee, Rich Girard, after talks came to a halt recently.
Now that mediation is scheduled to begin the end of March, Girard said there would be no further talks between the two groups. Girard was surprised by the decision to mediate the dispute and said, ““Frankly, we were caught by surprise and are disappointed by the MEA’s decision. We believed substantial progress had been made, which we announced in a joint statement just a couple of weeks ago, and were awaiting a response to the most recent salary offer we made when we got the news. At this point, we really do not know what concerns they have that led to this decision.”
One of the major points of contention is salary. The union claims it has made many attempts to come to a consensus with the Board, but nothing could be ratified by both sides. There are also issues with the tax cap and competing educational needs was the problem moving forward.”
Girard pointed out that the decision to mediate will delay a resolution and could put the board’s ability to increase the budget request in jeopardy. This means a new contract might not be able to be funded.
The current agreement that included more than 1,100 members of the Manchester Education Association (MEA) expired on June 30, 2018. Union leadership declared an impasse on June 4, 2018 due to“an inability to find common ground” in negotiations.