Bargaining Still Barred Out ... and Burning Out

, Posted: Tue, May 15 2012 at 5:55 PM, Updated: Tue, May 15 2012 at 6:11 PM

The fire is beginning to burn out as both teachers and the Eagle Point school district are honestly, running out of steam...in a strike that began a week ago Monday.
Today the union and administrators met in negotiations once more.Mainly three issues remain on the table that both sides just can't seem to see eye to eye on.
Hoping for a compromise... and soon. "We are hopeful," says John Harding. "We don't believe anyone wants this going on."
Harding, who is sitting in on negotiations for the union, says there are three main issues that continue to pose problems. The first: increasing instructional time for secondary teachers. Michael Remick, human resources for the district offices tells us,
"We want to have the ability to look at all options in the future so if this economic situation continues."
But Harding says there's just not enough time in the teacher's work day as it is. "The best way to describe this is if your try to pour a gallon of milk into a half gallon - there's not enough room for it all to in the day."
A second issue revolves around linking insurance benefits to the hours worked. "It's something that we've had, but it's not the industry standard. We think it's something we need to look at for cost saving measures," remarks Remick.
Harding rebukes, "Our concern is that when that employee goes back the next year, those hours will be cut so they'll have to pay more in their benefits."
Finally, discussion about subcontracting services. Which Harding says is one issue that's almost worked out. "I feel like we've bridged the gap for now on subcontracting. I feel like we're really close on that one."
Both sides hoping for closure...
"Closure is something that we're hopeful for," says Remick. "And were working toward the ultimate goal of a settlement."
...in a contract that's 14 months overdue and a strike now one week and counting.
Mediation will continue tonight until a deal is made, or the state mediator adjourns talks.

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