WELLINGTON — Negotiators for Wellington Schools and the union representing non-teaching staff were unable to reach a tentative settlement on a new contract after more than four hours of talks Friday, according to representatives of both sides.
Ralph Wright, spokesman for the Wellington School Support Staff union, said he was concerned about the lack of significant movement because the federal mediator assisting in the talks is unavailable next week.
“We’re willing to get back to the table,” Wright said. “What the board was offering was a package deal and several of the items were unacceptable.”
For example, Wright said negotiators for the schools want to remove job descriptions from the contract. That, he said, was unacceptable.
“There’s nothing to prevent them from having anybody do anybody else’s job,” he said.
Jeff Martin, a school board member and member of the negotiating team, said the schools offered tuition assistance for continuing education — something the non-teaching staff wanted — in exchange for dropping the job descriptions.
The non-teaching staff does not have tuition assistance, Wright said.
Martin said other stumbling blocks included salary and provisions of the drug-free workplace.
Martin said non-teaching staff members were unwilling to consider the same salary offer that was tentatively accepted Tuesday by the Wellington Education Association representing 89 teachers. Details of that contract have not been made public as the teachers’ union has not ratified it as of yet.
Martin said negotiators for the school district also want to modify drug-free workplace provisions to allow the district to remove someone from his or her job for the first offense.
The support staff union represents 59 non-teaching workers, including bus drivers, cafeteria workers and custodians.
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