Montesano district and teachers enter mediation over contract

The first day of school in the Montesano School District was Aug 29. Since then, the teacher’s union has been working without a contract.

On Monday Tina Niels, copresident of the Montesano Education Association, offered a brief statement via email on the situation:

“After reaching an impasse, the Montesano Education Association, has filed with PERC, Public Employment Relations Commission, for mediation.”

The school district published the following statement on its website Tuesday:

“On September 12th, the district accepted a union proposal that included a (20 percent) increase over the 2017-2018 salary schedule that includes an additional 10 days of pay at the per diem rate (based on salary) for each teacher and an additional three days at a new curriculum rate of $250.

“The 180 day 2018-2019 salary schedule and the additional days were agreed to at the bargaining table by the union and the school district. …

“After agreeing to this proposal, the union has now withdrawn that agreement.

“Please be assured that your Board of Directors remains committed to providing a fair and competitive salary and benefit package to our employees while also sustaining the long-term fiscal responsibility we have to our community.”

After the district’s statement was release, Niels said the union’s focus is on the mediation:

“We will decline to bargain in public, and we are disappointed that the superintendent has chosen to do so. We will trust the mediation process and honor the work of the mediator by allowing the mediation to proceed as it is designed,” she said in an email.

Montesano Superintendent Dan Winter said has hope in going through the process.

“Hopefully, through the mediation process, we can find a resolution,” he said. “A meeting has been been requested, but it takes a little time.” He expects the next meeting to be a week or two away.

Other districts

In the McCleary School District, classified workers are on the job without a contract. But a spokeswoman for the union says she expects a vote soon.

All other East County districts have contracts with their unions.