Teachers will make counterproposal
Lake Tahoe Unified School District negotiating teams are scheduled to meet with mediator David Gilb again on April 19.
This time, it’s the South Tahoe Teachers Association’s turn to present the district with a counterproposal.
“We’ll be meeting on the 19th with (Gilb) and getting the counterproposal, so we look forward to that,” district negotiating team member Jim Watson said. “We’d really like to see resolution to the issues involved with this.”
STEA President Mike Patterson said the union hopes to reach a settlement through the mediation process, as well.
“We would like to get a settlement,” Patterson said. “We’ve been really working hard to get a settlement and we hope it can happen through mediation but if the mediator wants to send us to fact finding then we’re prepared for that also.”
Fact finding is the next step in the negotiation process.
According to Roger Smith, a specialist with the California Public Employee Relations Board, once a mediator informs PERB that further mediation would be ineffective, then fact finding is appropriate.
“PERB sends a list of seven names,” Smith said. “From that list, the teachers and the district pick one and then each assigns one of their members to the panel. So it will be a three-person panel with a union person, a district person and the fact finder.”
Once the panel is decided on, the union and the district present their cases. The fact finding committee is responsible for preparing an advisory report, based on the presentations.
“The report is not binding,” Smith said. “And the employer (district) must make it public within 10 days of issuance.”
Once the report is compiled, the district or the union can notify the other team of one last offer. At that point, they can go back to the negotiation table, or decide on implementation.
“The fact finder is neutral and tries to get the parties together,” Smith said. “If one party doesn’t agree with the fact finder, one side either implements or takes job action or goes back to the mediation table.”
For the union, job action typically means strike, according to Smith.
If teachers choose to strike for only a few days, they are required to notify their employer at least 72 hours in advance so alternative arrangements can be made in the classroom.
“But if they’re walking off the job, there are no requirements,” Smith said.
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