By Bryan Navarro
EAGLE POINT, Ore. — After more than a year of bargaining, months of rallying, and a week without classes an overnight negotiation ends the strike in Eagle Point.
He words that everyone is saying are “relieved” and “excited”. Hillside Elementary, and all Eagle Point District Schools are closed Wednesday to prepare to go back to normal starting Thursday morning. Where there was picketing, honking, and walkouts, the scene is now quiet. The signs are being hauled away; the strike is over.
“It’s very much a relief when we can focusing on the important things,” District 9 Human Resources’ Mike Remick.
Bargaining began at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. At 1 a.m. Wednesday, the two sides announced a compromise.
“We kept tweaking and wordsmith-ing and finally we came to a resolution,” explains Remick.
“Oh, the district was finally moving. I think that they heard the community and that was really huge. I don’t think they would have moved otherwise,” says Bargaining Team Spokesperson Daniel Burdis.
Both sides say with the issue of subcontracting, there were two issues that incited compromise. Each campus will decide on instructional time, and part time employees will receive benefits at a pro-rated level. Each campus was closed Wednesday, administrators prepared to return to normal classes on Thursday.
“I didn’t think it was going to affect me as much as it did,” says Samantha Hagler-Allred, an Eagle Point High School sophomore. “And to have it be over and to hopefully go back to normal is going to be awesome. It’s just not fun for anybody.”
Teachers, staff, students, parents, and district officials all shared the same feeling: relief. While keeping in mind another clash may be down the road.
“It’s nice to move on. It’s been a long 14 months; we’re counting down to 14 months till we start bargaining again,” says Burdis.
This is technically not the end. The school board as well as the union must ratify the contract. Those votes are expected in the next few weeks.