As a member of the BOSC negotiations subcommittee, I wanted to take the time to write a statement with respect to the mediation session that took place yesterday between the BOSC and the Manchester Education Association. This meeting was a reschedule of a prior session in which the mediator was sick and could not attend. I was truly looking forward to attending the mediation, and was very hopeful that we could reach an agreement with the assistance of a paid mediator. I was prepared to spend the day working on getting a fair and equitable contract for the teachers. In fact, I used a paid vacation day to do so.
I feel that I have always been extremely supportive of the MEA. I have many close friends in the bargaining unit, I have loved every teacher that my child has had, as well as the many teachers whose work I have witnessed firsthand at West High School, Parkside and Gossler. A contract for teachers is of the utmost importance to me.
As has been previously reported, the session did not amount to anything.
What I find disturbing today is the response given by the MEA with respect to their brief attendance at mediation, and the invention of a second mediation session which was claimed to be scheduled for Thursday, April 11, 2019. Let me be clear: There was no second day of mediation scheduled. April 11, 2019 was an option for an available date for scheduling the mediation. Our attorney could not attend, so it was never an option for even a single day of mediation, let alone a second day.
I cannot fathom what would lead the MEA to claim that there was a second mediation day scheduled and that the BOSC Negotiations Subcommittee is refusing to attend. This is simply false. I am insulted that this is being suggested by the MEA. As someone who has always stood up for them and been in their corner, I can only say that my feelings are hurt and I am just at a loss for an explanation.
I know that I speak for everyone on the BOSC Negotiations Subcommittee that we are confused and saddened by the MEA’s false claims. We all took personal time to be there and it was disrespectful that the MEA did not notify us about any scheduling conflicts until we got there. We were prepared to be there until midnight to get something done.
Kate Desrochers represents Ward 11 on the Board of School Committee.