Next Monday is the last day, June 30th, of the current Huntley School District 158 teachers contract.
It is also the next scheduled meeting date with the federal mediators and the teachers union.
Will a deal get done?
Not by Monday. That’s for sure.
There is no incentive for the union’s professional negotiators to come to an agreement before the contract expires.
Not when the union has the threat of a strike to extract big concessions from the school board in the days right before the new teachers are scheduled to report for their first day on the job (days before the first day for the students).
The school board has made it clear the union has yet to put a reasonable proposal on the table.
With the union starting at 35% for next year’s increase in salary and benefits and the board starting with over 5%, the union is in the driver’s seat to decide when real negotiations will begin.
The board’s initial offer is higher than the rate of inflation. By starting out so high, board members have left themselves no way to increase to make a concession and be seen as responsive to their taxpayers.
As long as the union keeps its offer outside of the range of reality, the union can keep wasting the board members’ time.
The union plays the game with rehearsed acting on the part of its negotiating team members. They should try out for community theater.
They deliberately frustrate the district’s negotiating team by refusing to recognize economic reality. There is an enormous difference between meeting the technical legal requirements of what’s called “good faith” bargaining and real sincere bargaining.
Do the professional negotiators for the union have to be reasonable with the mediators?
In a word, “No.”
All the union has to do is talk a good game. And keep insisting that the school board needs to be making concessions. And, of course, keep insisting that its new proposal is reasonable.
Remember how Bill Clinton said it depends on how you define the word “is?”
Now think of professional union negotiators who know how to define what the word “reasonable” is.
The game for the teachers union in Huntley District 158 is stringing the mediators along until a before-go-back-to-school date for the teachers.
Of course, the federal mediators have been around the block and know how the IEA negotiators operate.
The easiest way for the mediators to induce a settlement is to insist the school board to start making concessions. This, of course, plays into the union’s hand.
What a pretty position for the union to be in.
Unless you realize the union’s taking a hard line position for months could have had the opposite of the intended effect–convincing board members the union leadership is being ridiculously unreasonable.
Something that is more likely to be resented and not result in giving the union the benefit of the doubt.
It’s human nature to not take very seriously someone who is being ridiculously unreasonable.
Continuing to insist on a 35% increase in take-home pay and benefits would strike no one as “reasonable.”
I can see where the school board could look at the union’s lack of sincerity, step back and say,
“There’s only so much money and, if the union wants to play the strike card, then there is nothing we can do about it.”
Tomorrow: Restrictions and Limitations of Regressive Bargaining.
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Same old picture from two years’ ago of newly appointed Superintendent John Burkey telling teacher union leaders that the contract that the school board refused to make public and which they had no idea of the cost would not be approved that night as expected.