After teachers voted no on the first run at a tentative contract agreement, the teachers’ union and the Manatee County School District declared Tuesday they have reached an impasse.
After some back and forth during a public meeting Tuesday, officials representing the district and officials from Manatee Education Association, the teachers’ union, said they could not reach a new agreement for teachers to consider.
It appears we’re at impasse.
Bruce Proud, MEA negotiator
During their first public meeting since teachers voted down the tentative agreement, union representatives proposed a plan where the district would both contribute more money to the health insurance fund to offset premium increases for employees with spouse or family plans and give a cost-of-living bump on the salary side.
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That plan would cost the district $3 million more than they agreed to under the tentative agreement.
“We’re not able to accept your proposal because of our financial conditions,” district negotiator Bill Vogel said.
Instead, Vogel proposed putting the tentative agreement out for a re-vote, citing a low voter turnout.
“There wasn’t a low turnout for no votes,” union negotiator Bruce Proud said, adding that if teachers voted no the first time they weren’t likely to vote yes the next time with the very same proposal. “You never have 100 percent.”
But Vogel said the danger of losing retroactive back-pay might change some voters’ minds.
If the agreement isn’t ratified by Nov. 14, the district will take the retroactive pay piece of the agreement off the table, saying that money would have to go toward covering the health insurance fund.
“It appears we’re at impasse,” Proud said.
The last time the district and the teacher’s union reached an impasse was in 2010, according to officials.
The sides will notify the public employee relations commission and have not ruled out bringing in a special magistrate to help them reach an agreement.
A special magistrate would look at all the factors and make a final, non-binding recommendation. The magistrate’s recommendation would then go to the school board for final approval, at which point the magistrate’s recommendation would take effect.
Members of the district’s other union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, also voted down their tentative agreement. AFSCME includes support employees like bus drivers and cafeteria workers.
The district paraprofessionals, also represented by MEA, approved their tentative agreement, which includes the same health insurance premium increases for employees with spouses. Employees not covered by unions, called SAMP employees, will be subject to the same health insurance premiums as well.
The paraprofessional agreement and the SAMP employee agreements will be formally approved by the school board Wednesday.