Last Wednesday night/Thursday morning (at 2AM), the MEA’s and the Board of Education’s negotiations teams reached a settlement on our next collective bargaining agreement. We will be holding a district-wide meeting next Wednesday, November 28 in the Polson auditorium at 3:45 to go over the details of the new contract and to vote on its ratification. We realize that this is not the most convenient time for some of our members, yet it is the only time that will allow all of our members to attend this vital meeting. Please make every effort to attend. Your voice and vote are critical elements in this process.
Some members have asked the Negotiations Team why they can’t see any of the details of the new contract prior to next Wednesday’s meeting. We talked about this very issue at the end of Wednesday night’s mediation to review what has always been the most sensible way to handle this part of the process. I fully appreciate where people are coming from when they ask to have some information before the ratification meeting, but sharing any details about the settlement agreement before the meeting could compromise the vote. More specifically, our concern is that, if we give our members a preview of what’s in the new contract without its proper context, the people who view it positively may be less likely to attend the meeting, while those who view it negatively will be more likely to attend to cast their ‘nay’ votes. Therefore, the only way to ensure maximum, meaningful participation is to wait until the actual meeting to go over the details. We will be putting the proposed agreement in its proper context so that our members are fully informed and will thoroughly discuss all questions and concerns regarding the negotiations process. I realize that this puts people who have limited time in an inconvenient position, but for this critical stage there are no alternatives. So again, we encourage our members to make every effort to attend.