Labor contract talks resume today with public school teachers

2013-07-16T01:30:00Z Labor contract talks resume today with public school teachersBy Renata Birkenbuel of The Montana Standard Montana Standard

Negotiations between the Butte Teachers’ Union and the school board resume on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the Administration Building, 111 N. Montana St.

Both sides are deadlocked on salaries, medical insurance and contract language. The district’s latest counter-proposals includes a 2 percent increase for teachers in the 2013-2014 school year and a 1.5 percent increase in the second year (20014-2015), compared to the union’s proposal of 4.5 percent and 4.0 percent increase per year, respectively.

District board chair Ann Boston called the district’s proposal the “last, best offer.”

As for insurance increases, after several rounds of negotiations, in late June the two sides tentatively agreed on increasing the amount to $25 per month per teacher for the first year (bumping up the monthly premium from $662 per month to $687) and a $20 per month increase for the second year.

But mediation may be the next step, as union membership soundly rejected the district’s package proposal for salary, insurance and language issues at a ratification meeting in late June.

Chairman Mike Kenison said 80 percent of the 131 members present voted to reject the district’s offer at the time. Thirty-five percent of the union membership attended the meeting.

— Reporter Renata Birkenbuel can be reached at renata.birkenbuel@lee.net and 496-5512.

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