Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Board, teachers reach tentative agreement, again

“Really, the things we changed were really not significantly that much different. There were a little bit of clerical things, but then there were some things we had to figure out and nail down,” Tom Temple, GEA negotiating team member

By Jason Stuart

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

Following a marathon bargaining session Monday, the Glendive Unified School Board and the Glendive Education Association have reached a new tentative agreement on a two-year collective bargaining contract for the district’s teachers.

“I really feel like it’s a very, very strong document,” board member Brian Steffen said. “At the end of the day we didn’t change a huge amount of language in the document, and I think that’s a reflection of the fact that we weren’t very far apart to begin with.”

The two sides originally reached a tentative agreement in late May. The GEA membership voted to ratify that agreement. 

At a special board meeting held the day after the GEA vote, at which the board was scheduled to ratify the contract, some board members expressed concerns with some of the language in the document after review by the district’s legal counsel, and instead ordered the document back to the bargaining committee. 

The bargaining committee did not meet, and the GUSB ultimately voted at their monthly meeting last Monday not to ratify the agreement.

That action spawned some tensions between the two sides, a fact Temple acknowledged colored the start of negotiations on Monday, but that the group ultimately worked through.

“It was pretty tense at first, but we kind of blew off that steam,” he said.

“At the end of the day, everybody came together,” Steffen added.

Temple added that it was a great help to both sides to have the district’s attorney, Jeff Weldon, and MEA-MFT field consultant Maggie Copeland together in the same room to help move the process along, and he complimented both on their efforts.

“I can’t really say enough about how Jeff did a great job and Maggie did a great job,” Temple said.

Steffen said he believes the agreement reached Monday will stick.

“I left there last night feeling very optimistic,” he said.

 

Reach Jason Stuart at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

 
Get the whole story in the Thursday, June 19, 2014 print issue of the Ranger-Review.

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