Impasse Declared By School Committee on Teacher Union Negotiations
Update 12/15/2022 10 am: The Owl received the following correction from Ed McLoughlin, President of the WEA, published with his permission: “Thank you for your reporting on our negotiations with Weston’s School Committee. I’d like to clarify one thing. The WEA is not in agreement that we are at an impasse. The School Committee will be filing unilaterally with the Department of Labor that we are at an impasse. The WEA entered our meeting last night expecting to hear responses that were on the table from our prior meeting and instead received a best and final offer with no room for negotiation. The WEA remains committed to negotiating in good faith with those who were elected to run Weston’s schools. Signed, Ed McLoughlin.”
On Wednesday, December 14, the School Committee of Weston Public Schools declared an impasse in negotiations for a teacher contract to cover 2022-2025.
As the Owl covered last week, the impasse was not unexpected and is (subjectively) a sad place at which to arrive. Having lived in a country where public school strikes caused massive breaks in student education, and of course, coming out of a pandemic recent past where kids were forced into sub-optimal learning, the Owl is more than a little worried.
What’s next? Mediation. Please read the following School Committee communication which can be found on this site:
To the Weston Community,
Last month, the Weston School Committee provided a brief update on the status of negotiations between the Weston Public School District and its six labor unions. Our goal has always been to reach fair successor agreements that offer attractive compensation packages and work conditions across all of the District’s unions.
Weston continues to be a leader in public employee compensation. Earlier this year, five of the six unions supported across-the-board salary increases of 5.75% over three years recognizing that Weston’s compensation package was already amongst the highest in the state.
This evening, the School Committee’s collective-bargaining negotiating team informed the Weston Educators Association–the District’s sixth labor union consisting primarily of teachers–of its intention to seek assistance from a state-appointed mediator to help the parties move past our current impasse and reach agreement on a successor contract. Despite negotiating in good faith in 19 sessions spanning 10 months, during which the parties have reached agreement on a number of items of mutual interest, we have been unable to reach agreement on several other issues and are currently at an impasse. Weston is not alone, as many other districts, including Wellesley, Lexington, Watertown, Winchester, Medford, and Melrose, are similarly without successor agreements with their teachers unions. Wellesley also announced last week that it was seeking mediation.
Mediation is the legally required next step, which we expect will keep negotiations moving toward an amicable agreement. By filing for mediation, both sides can obtain the professional support of a neutral third party and move quicker to an agreeable contract. The negotiation sessions will resume once a mediator is in place.
Making forward progress in negotiations, with the assistance of a mediator, is important to help ensure the parties settle the contract this fiscal year. Failure to reach an agreement by the end of June could result in the District being required to return funds to the Town that were set aside for increases to 2022-2023 salaries. The School Committee strives for a fair successor agreement – one that respects and is fair to our teachers, as well as our students and the broader community that contribute greatly to the schools.
Please look on our website over the next couple of days for more information and updates on the collective bargaining process.
The Weston School Committee
Ken Newberg, Chair
Alyson Muzila, Vice-Chair