The Mohawk Education Association has claimed that the Board is “not interested in reconvening discussions to try and come to a resolution” of the parties’ collective bargaining negotiations. Is that true?
Simply put, no, that is not true. Since March, the Board has negotiated in good faith with the Mohawk Education Association (MEA). On June 26, after six negotiating sessions where both sides collaborated to come to a solution that was beneficial to all – including two meetings after the parties reached an impasse and requested the assistance of a federal mediator – a tentative agreement was reached, and both the Board representative and the MEA representative signed off on each item. Under the parties’ negotiated agreement, the next step in the process was for both parties to ratify the tentative agreement. Unfortunately, for reasons not disclosed to the Board’s negotiating team, the MEA failed to ratify the contract.
As the parties were at an impasse and under the jurisdiction of a federal mediator when they reached tentative agreement, they are still under the mediator’s jurisdiction. Representatives for both parties have been in contact with the mediator regarding the MEA’s rejection of the tentative agreement, but to date he has not called both sides back to the bargaining table. The Board is prepared to meet and confer in good faith with the MEA in the event such a meeting is called.
Are the superintendent and treasurer paid 190% more than the average teacher?
No, their daily rate of pay is not 190% higher than that of an average Mohawk teacher, especially when one considers that Mohawk teachers are contracted for 184 days, while the superintendent and treasurer are contracted for 255 and 245 days, respectively. More importantly, the superintendent and treasurer are the top two administrative employees of the Board, responsible for:
- hiring, evaluating and supervising every District employee;
- the education, safety and welfare of the District’s students;
- managing a multi-million dollar budget funded with taxpayer dollars;
- overseeing the use and maintenance of all school facilities and personal property; and,
- advising the Board on all District policies and procedures.
Both the superintendent and treasurer routinely work after school hours attending meetings, District functions, and conferences at which they represent the Board’s interests. Just as the Board respects and appreciates our teachers for all that they do, the Board has tremendous respect, appreciation, and support for all the superintendent and treasurer do to make Mohawk a successful school district.
How does the salary of the Mohawk teaching staff rank among similar districts?
According to data from the State Employment Relations Board, Mohawk is #1 for base salary out of 12 local schools, i.e., teachers starting with a bachelor’s degree with no experience at Step 0. Mohawk’s top end of the pay scale “cash in your pocket,” is ranked #6, i.e., teachers having a Master’s degree plus 30 additional credit hours, after deductions for benefits.
The twelve local schools are: Buckeye Central Local Schools, Bucyrus City Schools, Carey Exempted Village Schools, Colonel Crawford Local Schools, Hopewell-Loudon Local Schools, Mohawk Local Schools, New Riegel Local Schools, Old Fort Local Schools, Seneca East Local Schools, Tiffin City Schools, Upper Sandusky Exempted Village Schools, and Wynford Local Schools.
If the tentative agreement was ratified, the Mohawk teachers would see a 4.92% increase in the first year, 4.87% in the second year, and 5.85% in the third year. These figures include any step increase that the teachers would earn as well.
Did the Board walk out of negotiations? Did the Board quit working with the union?
Absolutely not. The Board’s team made numerous proposals and counterproposals during its six negotiations sessions with the MEA. Every negotiation session ended upon mutual agreement with a date selected for the following meeting. The negotiations between the parties concluded June 26 when both bargaining teams reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.
Is the Board refusing to meet with the MEA?
No. The parties have been under the jurisdiction of the federal mediator since May 2023, and continue to be under his jurisdiction. The Board stands ready to meet whenever called to do so by the mediator and will continue to bargain in good faith. Further, the Board, through its representatives, has informed the MEA that it is the Board’s hope and preference to begin the school year with a signed agreement and the Mohawk teachers in their classroom. That is the best result for everyone, including those we treasure most – Mohawk Students.
The Mohawk Education Association claimed on August 15 that the “mediator has reached out to the board, and they have not responded.” Is that true?
Absolutely not! The Board through its representative has spoken with the mediator over a half dozen times since the Union rejected the parties’ tentative agreement, including on the morning of August 15. The Board has told the mediator on every occasion that it stands ready to attend any meeting called by the mediator. To date, he has not called any such meeting.
While the Board can’t speak for the mediator, it is possible that he has not called a meeting due to the Union’s failure to indicate a willingness to meet. As the party rejecting the TA, the ball is in the Union’s court to let the mediator know they are ready to meet and tell the Board why they rejected the TA, and what they want to resolve the negotiations. The mediator’s decision not to call a meeting can only mean the Union leadership either doesn’t know what its membership wants to reach resolution, or is otherwise unprepared to meet and confer in good faith with the Board to reach a fair outcome.
Regardless, the Board informed the mediator last week and this week that if the Union is prepared to share why the TA was rejected and meet in good faith to discuss a path forward to resolve this matter, the Board stands ready to meet. To that end, the Board has indicated its availability to meet either August 18 or 24 for such a meeting. The ball is (and has been since their vote rejecting the TA) in the Union’s court.