Negotiations between Medford school board and teachers’ union delayed

MEDFORD, MA – A month after the Medford school board decided that negotiations with the Medford Teachers Association (MTA) had hit a dead endnegotiations between the two parties are still delayed.

The School Committee, which asked for a mediator to negotiate the contract,said in a press release that they unanimously decided to ask the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations to appoint a mediator to “help the parties reach an amicable resolution.”

“As the new school year begins, many Medford Public Schools (MPS) employees are working under expired employment contracts,” the school board said. “As a result, many support staff, including paraprofessionals, are getting pay raises. necessarily delayed due to the uncertain financial implications of the district’s ongoing negotiations with the Medford Teachers Association. »

“After 17 negotiating sessions over the past 10 months and the growing antagonism shown by the MTA negotiating team, it is clear that a fresh perspective is needed to resolve the current contractual impasse,” they added. .

In response to the school committee’s statement, the MTA said it was “extremely disappointed” with the decision, as no elected member of the school committee has attended a bargaining session to date.

Prior to the stalemate, the MPS offered a base pay of 7.25% over three years, with additional non-subsidy based pay, which resulted in each teacher receiving a salary increase of approximately $9, 2% over the proposed three-year contract.

Although this was a significant improvement on the district’s initial offer of a 3.75% raise, the MTA said it was not enough due to recent inflation. Union members also said the alleged 9.2% wage increase is misleading because it is tied to federally funded one-time bonuses that do not increase base pay or count toward retirement.

Negotiations also included demands for updated policies and changes to contract language, including establishing specific student-teacher ratios for newcomer classes and modernizing the family leave policy.

Another priority was reducing class sizes for English learner/newcomer classes and providing resources and staff for special education and inclusion classes, two issues that were progressing prior to the stalemate. .

“The school board showed complete disrespect for the educators at Medford by never attending a negotiation meeting, and yet they act as if they have the knowledge to declare a stalemate” , said MTA educators.

In a Sept. 27 update, the MTA urged the school board to come back to the table to negotiate, noting that mediation has always been a “slow, nonbinding process that has failed in several districts across the country.” State”.

“As the Medford Public Schools and Medford Teachers Association bargaining teams have been engaged in good faith negotiations with steady movement on the remaining key issues throughout this year, it is logical to state that the lawsuit talks between the two parties will settle the contract long before the Department of Labor mediator does,” the MTA said.

“We want to continue the difficult but worthwhile work of bargaining so that our members can focus on their students in one of the most challenging times in this country’s history,” they continued. “We urge the district to come back to the table and do the job they were hired to do.”