“Negotiations can be tough and they are a process,” said Rockford Public School Board President Kenneth Scrivano, before the board’s Tuesday night meeting.
Tuesday was the first night the board had met since the Rockford Education Association (REA) rejected it’s latest contract offer Sunday. The union represents teachers, speech pathologists, and nurses.
Scrivano was disappointed after he thought a deal was in place.
“We have come to an agreement with their bargaining team and our bargaining team, and both times now they have been voted down by their membership,” Scrivano said.
The REA’s contract expired in the summer. The board presented a new three year contract that included an annual salary increase, but the union says those weren’t enough for its nearly 2,000 members.
“I think, as a whole, we gotta look at the whole tentative agreement,” said REA President Dawn Granath. “I think to pick and choose what people liked and didn’t like is a challenge and so that’s why we have to go back to the membership and ask them that question,” she added.
Granath didn’t comment on the details of the tentative agreement that prompted members to reject it. But, she’s confident that no strike will happen. “We eventually are going to get a ratified agreement and a contract. We just have to find the process between today and that point,” she added.
“In my opinion there are no winners when there is a strike,” Scrivano said. “Our concern, certainly, as a board and a district, is the impact that could have on our students,” he added. Despite the setbacks, Scrivano says he’s confident a deal will be struck soon.
“We will continue to work together with our partners from the REA and continue to negotiate and come up with an agreement that both sides can live with,” he added.
Talks for a new tentative agreement are set for November.