OSD/OEA Contract Negotiations Update
February 2, 2022 Update
Today the Othello School District bargaining team met with the Othello Education Association’s bargaining team for a second full day of contract mediation. The purpose of contract negotiations is for both sides to negotiate in good faith to move toward an agreement. Here are some of the recent proposals that have been discussed as part of a package agreement:
An increase in VEBA for years 2 and 3
Longevity stipends in years 2 and 3
Additional paid days for secondary counselors
5 personal leave days for all certificated staff
Class size limitations
In addition to these kinds of proposals, the OSD offer would provide all certificated staff with a 3% salary increase, plus an additional 1% stipend in compensation this school year.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to make movement on a few areas, including salary increases and the contract language related to school psychologist case loads. These two items in particular continue to stall everyone’s efforts to settle a contract, and I know that both sides are frustrated by this lack of progress.
We all agree that Othello educators need a contract that invests in students and staff, is competitive with other districts in the region, and will attract and keep great educators in Othello. The current OSD offer includes compensation (Salary, 10% supplemental, extra-days, VEBA, longevity) increases that would result in 70% of current OSD certificated staff earning more than their Pasco counterparts over the life of the current Pasco contract and the proposed OSD 3-year contract.
I was very encouraged by the Q&A sessions I had at most of the buildings this past week. Teachers asked hard questions, which I answered and also discussed facts about the district’s financial reality. I appreciated those who engaged with me in this dialogue and the call to action that was shared about continued communication.
Our next mediation date is Feb. 17. Before that meeting, in an effort to continue with our commitment to communication and transparency, I am formally inviting a broader group of OEA representatives for an opportunity to hear how each side is presenting their contract offers. I propose that each building send 2 or 3 OEA representatives, in addition to the bargaining teams. Perhaps having a fresh set of eyes on issues will help prepare us to move forward on Feb. 17. I will present the offer the district has made, and OEA is also welcome to share their offer. To keep this meeting between the Othello people who will be working together long after this contract is settled, we want to agree that neither side will bring outside representatives, including lawyers, WEA or Uniserv employees. I want to make it clear that this meeting will not be a bargaining session. There will be no exchanging of proposals. Rather, it will be an opportunity for you to get information on what is going on at the table and ask any questions you may have. We think it is vital that each of you understands what the parties are discussing in our negotiations.
I look forward to hearing back from OEA about my invitation. I believe that we can start to rebuild relationships with this joint meeting between two groups of educators who care deeply about settling this contract and focusing our time and energy on what really matters to all of us: serving the students of Othello.
Pete Perez, Superintendent