Update on Negotiations with the REA

Update on Negotiations with the REA
Dear Parents and Community members,

As lead negotiator for the Personnel Committee of the Riverside Board of Education, I would like to update you regarding the ongoing negotiations with the Riverside Education Association. As you may be aware, the Board’s Committee and the REA have been in negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement since November, 2018. By law, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement that expired on June 30, 2019 remain binding on both parties until there is a new agreement. Contrary to statements issued by the Association at Back to School nights, REA members are never “working without a contract.” They continue to have their full salaries paid and all the benefits of that agreement.

The Board committee felt that the REA’s financial proposals were excessive.  The Board must remain fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of the Riverside community while still providing a fair and reasonable contract for the REA. After five meetings, an impasse was declared and the parties went to mediation. The mediation took place on July 18, 2019. Unfortunately, the parties could not come to a reasonable and fair resolution. The Parties then moved to Fact Finding. Fact Finding is a part of the negotiations process where a neutral party is appointed to mediate the dispute. We met on September 23, 2019 with no progress. We are scheduled to meet again on December 2, 2019.

            As we await the next session with the Fact Finder, we must note that the quality, professionalism, performance and devotion of the teaching and support staff here at Riverside has never been an issue. The students here are fortunate to have high quality professional and support staff. The Board will continue to honor the bargaining process and participate fully. Once again, we believe our proposals are equitable and fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of the Riverside community. We hope that you will support us in our mutual endeavor of maintaining a high quality educational community for the students of the Riverside School District.

Michael Holak