Tuesday, December 15, 2009

12-15-09 Mediation Session

We met with district negotiators at the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services today. We are shocked at games the district is attempting to play with our settlement.

First, a little history. This round, the district said it was all about resolving the budget challenges we are facing. So, our response was to use actual budget numbers to make sure our offer included our fair share of the load. But at our last session, we were lectured by the district on how we must use their system, which conveniently made our package appear more expensive than it really was.

We agreed to give that a try. Using their costing system, even their own spreadsheet, we met their financial offer today.

In response, at the eleventh hour, they decided to roll out yet another costing system - one we that is entirely new to us - to claim that after that move, we are now actually $4 million apart.

So to sum up, we began the day believing we were $3 million apart by the district's own calculations. We reduced our offer by $3 million, and naturally assumed a settlement was close at hand. The district responded by trying to change the rules so they could claim we were an additional $4 million apart.

Using multiple budget systems to create a moving target is unprecedented, unfair, and highly unethical. Clearly, this is not about solving a budget issue, but trying to take advantage of hard times. In addition, they seem to be willing to give a million dollars back to the state before they will bargain honestly and openly with educators that work so hard for our students.

We need the district to know that we will not stand for unfair treatment in bargaining. We will begin work to rule district wide tomorrow and encourage members to contact the school board to tell them to play fair. Your action will be needed to make this settlement happen.

Watch your email - we'll keep you posted,

Your Negotiators - Paul, Sandy, Vicki, LeMoyne, David, Gary, and Julie