BRADENTON – A series of contracts between the Manatee County School District and two unions (Manatee Education Association and Municipal Employees Local 1584 of the AFL-CIO, or AFSCME) were unanimously approved at Monday's school board meeting.
|photo by Dennis Maley|
Negotiations for each of the three contracts lasted about a month, and school board members commented that the sessions between the district and unions were much smoother than they had gone in recent years.
Major components of the contracts consist of pay increases for AFSCME municipal employees (2.12%, effective July 1, 2013), MEA Paraprofessionals (same) and MEA teachers (a minimum annual increase of $1750 for eligible employees). 60 Paraprofessional jobs were also saved through contract negotiations.
Pay increases will be retroactive to the effective date of the contracts, all of which were July 1, 2013.
Board Chair Karen Carpenter praised school district lead negotiator Dr. Bill Vogel and union leadership for what she deemed a positive year of negotiations.
"I think these negotiations have led to a new era for us in terms of respect and valuing our employees," said Carpenter.
Board member David Miner, noting the district's lean budget as it rebuilds from last year's disastrous shortfall, said that having contracts negotiated in good faith "can only come about when the information about (the district's) finances are on the table, and people understand where we stand. It might not be a good place where we stand, but to have good-faith labor negotiations is essential."