Negotiations with city teachers collapse; Gatsas to take over talks
"We're disappointed we can't present contracts to the board," Avard said, while thanking his fellow subcommittee members, its attorney, the administration, as well as the three district employee unions that did reach agreements with the group.
Last month, the Water Works union became the last of the city unions that had rejected contract concessions in 2012 to reach a deal with the city. The contract raised health care premium rates to 17.5 percent and gave employees a 1 percent yearly raise over two years.
Superintendent Debra Livingston expressed her support, and the board voted for the motion unanimously.
The vote puts Gatsas back in a familiar position in negotiating directly with the teachers' union. Last spring, the board voted to have its own committee lead the talks, a move that upset Gatsas.
Since July 1, the teachers' union has been working without a contract; the teachers continue to pay single-digit health care premiums but are ineligible for any pay raises.
Ben Dick, the president of the MEA, said Monday evening that he welcomed the chance to sit down with the mayor. But he said that the teachers' unique circumstances have to be taken into account.
"Absolutely; we want a deal done as much as anyone," he said.
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