MEDFORD, Ore. — Wednesday and Thursday’s back-to-back bargaining sessions pointed to progress between the Medford School District and the Medford Education Association (MEA). But just before 6 p.m. negotiations came to a halt and both sides agreed it ended on a sour note. “This has been an excruciatingly difficult week for our community,” said Dr. Phil Long. “It has been an intense two days,” said Cheryl Lashley.
After more than 20 hours of negotiations in two days, the progress was put on pause.
Thursday’s conflict seemed to surround a set of numbers, Long presented at a press conference. He said the District made a move in its proposal worth more than $4 million in value, on an early retirement benefit article. He claims the MEA only made a move in its counter-proposal worth some $60,000. Lashley said those numbers are inaccurate to the union’s counter-proposal Thursday.
“That will not get a contract solved that mortgage’s our kids’ future I don’t know what else to tell the community we can’t get this resolved unless we have both parties coming to deal to get a contract,” Long said.
“I think I’ve said this before, we’re not going to bargain in the media. Because the numbers unless I sit down with both proposal’s it’s really hard to do that and our members have stood and they’ve been strong about the fact that we are not … they cannot continue to lose money and have make less money one year than they have in the prior year,” said Lashley.