I have been sitting on pins and needles for the better part of two years as the contract between my school district and the exclusive teachers union slugged it out. Both sides ended up hurting a lot of feelings and making some bad moves. When the negotiating committee sent a contract to their membership about two weeks ago, after the federal mediator got involved there was howling to beat the band! 3.7% increase was outrageously insulting, since it did not even meet inflation! There was gnashing over the sick bank and its use by pregnant women, but not men on paternity leave …. and gnashing over that from others … gnashing and moaning about the stipends to coaches …… Viciously worded e-mail from both sides. It got horrible!
I saw that there was a certain level of distrust aimed at me. A lot of conversations ended abruptly when I approached. Maybe it was a courtesy. Maybe it wasn’t.
Today it finally went to a vote, and it was ratified by about a 4-1 margin. Hardly as overwhelming as in the past. It only took 14 months to finish. I can only hope some lessons were learned by both sides as to how to not conduct negotiations. What really worries me is that the groups that felt the contract really screwed the teachers over, took the initiative to get voted into office about a week ago. I’m not sure of this bodes well for the future or not.
As with all things, time will tell.