Northshore district agrees to bargain jointly with unions, takes ‘step forward’

Contract talks between the Northshore School District (NSD) and labor unions made progress on Tuesday, July 26, agreeing to a tentative 2016-17 calendar.

Nortshore School District

Contract talks between the Northshore School District (NSD) and labor unions made progress on Tuesday, July 26, agreeing to a tentative 2016-17 calendar.

More importantly, the NSD agreed to allow the unions representing teachers and support staff to bargain jointly. Previously, the district said the unions had not provided reasons as to why the two groups wished to bargain jointly.

In June, union officials said the move was an attempt by district negotiator Jeff Sherwood to divide the staff and cut away at bargaining power.

“Joint bargaining represents a major step toward the possibility of resolving [negotiations] before the start of school,” said Kraig Peck, a union spokesperson and head negotiator. “It’s too soon to say what agreements [the district administration] will be willing to reach with us on the issues, but agreeing to bargain jointly enables us to discuss big picture items that affect all of Northshore School District’s 1,800-plus educators.”

Peck had high praise for new NSD Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid, saying she “appeared to be very interested in reaching an agreement that best serves students, staff and schools.”

Reid offered comment in a press release from the district.

“The district and the association are collaboratively constructing a framework for joint bargaining,” Reid stated. “We believe this framework will facilitate reaching an agreement with both bargaining units and will provide mutual benefits for positive outcomes moving forward.”

Per Tuesday’s agreement, school would begin on Sept. 6. Wednesdays will continue to be early-release days, with graduation scheduled for June 19, 2017.

The district met with the unions again on Thursday, July 28, discussing Special Education, support staff in general education classrooms and substitutes, but did not come to any specific agreements. The two sides are scheduled for more talks on Aug. 12 and 15. The deadline for a new contract is Aug. 31.

Important calendar dates:

Veteran’s Day: Friday, Nov. 11

Elementary conference days: Nov. 17-23 and March 3

Thanksgiving: Nov. 24-25

Winter Break: Dec.19 through Jan. 2 (return Tuesday, Jan. 3)

End of Semester: Monday, Jan. 30

Mid-Winter Break: Feb. 20-24

Spring Break: April 10-14

Memorial Day: Monday, May 29

Graduation Day: Monday, June 19

Last Day for Students: Wednesday, June 21

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