Champion school board responds to union in contract negotiation

Local News

CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) – Negotiations that have started back in May for Champion Local Schools have stalled, with the board’s final offer to the teacher’s union announced on Facebook Friday, Aug. 6.

The union thought the board may have breached an agreement since the offer wasn’t presented through a federal mediator.

The board sent their final offer to the federal mediator to be relayed to the union Friday. The mediator was requested because no progress was being made in negotiations.

Their collective bargaining agreement states that once started, federal mediation should continue until he teacher’s contract expires. Champion’s contract expired June 30.

This exempted the board from sending their final offer through the mediator. Board representative James Scher also said the union posted on social media that the board was no longer negotiating, prompting public release of the offer.

The full contract offer is available below.

Union spokesperson James Sheldon said teachers aren’t just looking for money – they also want the same planning period across all schools in the district. This would make all teachers available to students at the same time of day.

“The teachers’ working conditions are going to be the students learning conditions and we want to provide the best learning conditions for our students. And one way we can do that is making ourselves available to the parents, to the students to address any needs that they have,” Sheldon said.

Scher’s full statement on behalf of the Champion board of education is below:

The Board of Education greatly respects our teaching staff and wishes nothing more than to have them in the classrooms on August 16th doing what they do best, teaching our children. That’s why the Board has been negotiating for 3 months on a new contract. 

So that the record is perfectly clear, The Board of Education notified the Federal Mediator at the last session on July 28th that the Board would NOT commit to a mediation session on Friday, August 13th because no significant headway was being made with the teachers’ negotiation team in the previous sessions, and it was just days before the strike notice they had issued weeks earlier would start.  

On Thursday, August 5th at 3:55 p.m. the Board informed the Federal Mediator that instead of waiting until the last days prior to their strike commencing, the Board would instead issue to the Union bargaining team its best and final offer in this matter so the teachers had plenty of time to respond and not hold the community in limbo until the last minute before they were not showing up for work. On Friday, August 6th at 11:04 am, the Board presented its best and final offer to the Federal Mediator to be conveyed to the Union in the hope that this final extended offer would resolve this matter. Please note that the collective bargaining agreement states that “If impasse is declared, either party may request the services of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Once started, mediation shall continue until a tentative agreement is reached or until the contract expires.” 

“The Union contract expired on June 30th. Despite this, the Board still presented its offer through the Federal Mediator. On the afternoon of August 6th the Union put out on social media that the Board had cancelled the session “scheduled” for the 13th and was no longer negotiating. There was no mention that a final negotiation offer was submitted to the Mediator the same day. At that time, the Board sent the last, best, and final offer to the Union negotiating team directly and was required to post the offer publicly due to the misinformation being presented on social media on behalf of the Union. 

“The offer presented to the Union is fair, reasonable and equitable not only with all of the other contracts that have been agreed to by many other unions this year in our area, but also with the fiscal constraints of our District finances. The Board wishes nothing more than for the teachers to ratify this fair and equitable offer. The Board has received no response on its final offer as yet.”

James Scher, Champion Board of Education member

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