ASHLAND, Ore — Dozens of classified employees in the Ashland School District held a rally Monday, fighting for better benefits and wages.
The group, backed by the Ashland chapter of the Oregon School Employee Association, picketed outside of the Ashland School District on Siskiyou Boulevard. Employees held up signs that read, “fair pay now,” “united we stand,” and “respect equals a living wage.”
According to the union, contract negotiations began in March of 2021. The district reportedly offered a cost of living arrangement (COLA) of 2.25% and a “significant” reduction to longevity benefits.
Union representatives stated that the rate does not align with the current cost of living, and believes it deserves the same benefits as other faculty in the district.
“How can we in good conscious agree to a low COLA for the next three years?” Lisa March, president of the Ashland chapter of OSEA said. “We really want to get this done. We want to stay at work.”
March noted that it does not want to strike, because she says it could negatively affect the students. She says the only way they’ll move that far is if the school implements the contract without the union’s input.
OSEA and the school plans to meet for mediation on Tuesday to discuss its demands and hopefully agree to a solution. The Ashland School District did not immediately return our request for comment.
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