Union officials to decide fate of grievance todayPositive signals were beginning to dim Tuesday, two days before union leaders were to decide whether a school grievance will head to arbitration.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Positive signals were beginning to dim Tuesday, two days before union leaders were to decide whether a school grievance will head to arbitration.
Education Minnesota Red Wing President Kirby Hanson said progress in negotiations with Red Wing School District leaders has become frustrating.
"I would like to have been done with this a month ago," he said Tuesday.
Grievance stipulations call for union leaders to reach a final decision by Thursday.
Officials from both sides continued to work toward a resolution Tuesday, though Hanson said no progress was made.
"We didn't really come up with anything magical this morning," he said.
The two sides have been attempting to resolve union members' concerns with how full-time teaching work will be meted out under a new block schedule system, set to debut this fall at Red Wing High School.
Union leaders filed the grievance amid concerns that block scheduling could affect high school teachers' so-called "overload" pay, which is issued when they take on heavier course loads.
Supt. Stan Slessor has said the district wanted to ensure that a ruling on the grievance won't take away any "inherent managerial right" to make decisions on school schedules — so long as they don't violate teachers union contracts.
The district's formal role in the process — which began in February — ended earlier this month when Red Wing School Board members denied the grievance.
High school Principal Beth Borgen and Slessor had both denied the grievance during the process, which calls for the issue to be considered first by administrators.
Though the formal system had ended, leaders from both sides had hoped a memorandum of understanding, spelling out definitions of a full-time high school teacher and what constitutes a school day, would settle things.
Hanson said that has not been settled.
The final step is whether union members wish to have an arbitrator rule for one side, a possibility both sides said from the beginning they wanted to avoid.
For months leaders on both sides held strong public positions that arbitration was unlikely. Now, however, they appear to be changing their outlook.
While Hanson said he hopes the issue does not head to arbitration, he said, "We also owe it to our members to look at all of our options. It's a team decision."
Asked if he thinks arbitration is now likely, Slessor said, "I would hope not."
Hanson said he will be polling teachers today before top union leaders meet later in the day to decide on arbitration.