An impasse has been declared as part of negotiations between Dupo teachers and the district Board of Education on a new teachers contract. The teachers have been working without a contract this entire school year after the most recent contract expired in July.
The union representing 119 Dupo teachers, librarians, counselors, nurses and other employees said the school board declared an impasse on Nov. 30 in accordance with state law. Both sides met with a federal mediator Nov. 29 in an effort to resolve contract issues. Both sides were required to submit their last offers to the state labor board, which will post those online at . After those have been posted for 14 days, a union can legally strike if it has filed a 10-day intent to strike notice. In this case, the union has not filed that 10-day notice.
The union said teachers accepted a wage freeze as part of last year’s contract with a claim that the school board promised there would be money available for salary increases the following year. The school board contends that at no time did it promise a future salary increase.
The teachers union is seeking a two-year contract (retroactive to the start of the current school year), with a 1.5 percent increase for the second semester of this year and a three percent increase for 2013-14. The union claims that due to seven employee retirements within the district and assistance in savings on the health insurance plan, the school board can afford the increase.
The board contends that those seven retirees need replaced, and the district is already operating under a deficit budget due to decreases in state funding and lower property values.
“The union leadership continues to maintain its position on increasing salary and benefit costs, neither of which is affordable during these difficult economic times,” board counsel Barney Mundorf stated in a document provided to the Republic-Times.
Representing the teachers union, Dave Comerford said where things go depend on the school board.
“If they have significant movement and want to reach a compromise, then this has a chance to get settled,” he said. “If they don’t have any significant movement at the next meeting, then the union has to consider all of its options, including a strike.”