Friday, March 28, 2014

6-hour negotiating session ends with no deal in Anoka-Hennepin

Here is the press release we sent out just now:

COON RAPIDS, Minn. March 28, 2014 – Negotiators from Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota and the Anoka-Hennepin School District were at the bargaining table for six hours Thursday, but did not reach a tentative agreement on a new contract.

AHEM President Julie Blaha said, “The teams exchanged several proposals, but made minimal progress. We are still apart on our main issues of disagreement, but will continue to look for ways to resolve our differences.”

The negotiating session, which ended at 11 p.m. Thursday, failed to make headway on two key sticking points, including a proposal that would raise health insurance costs long term and a proposed change to the salary schedule that would hurt younger teachers.

AHEM has scheduled a strike authorization vote for April 17. At that time, the 2,800 members of AHEM will decide whether to give their union leadership to the authority to call a strike at a future date. It would not trigger an immediate strike.

Negotiators from the district and AHEM now have met 17 times during the past 10 months. The state the Bureau of Mediation Services is overseeing the talks. No new bargaining sessions are scheduled, although Blaha said the AHEM team remains ready to continue negotiations.

“No one knows more than teachers how disruptive a strike would be for our communities.” Blaha said. “That’s why reaching a fair contract through negotiations is our top priority. However, we also can’t accept a contract designed to divide our membership at a time when the challenges facing our students and our profession require us to be unified.”