MEDFORD, Ore. — Members of the MEA and the Medford School District spent the night on Wednesday, trying to come to an agreement. Negotiations lasted more than 20 hours until 5:59 Thursday morning. The strike officially began a minute later at 6 a.m.
Union members spent the afternoon out in the community holding signs and showing their support for teachers. The Medford School Board has declared a state of emergency, which prohibits picketing on school property and prohibits pickets from blocking school entry points.
The state of emergency also gives the superintendent authority to restrict signs and banners on district facilities. Time spent on the picket lines comes after a long night in negotiations.
“Well our teams met for 21 hours, and the district, in their supposals to us, which are confidential proposals, because that was our agreement. Would come to us with a proposal, and our team would look at it, come back to them, via the mediator, with another supposal from us with gives in there,” said Medford Education Association President Cheryl Lashley. “We want to be in our classrooms, we don’t want to be here, we want to be with our students.”
Some of the main sticking points still on the table are compensation, early retirement and health benefits. The next scheduled meeting is Saturday. The meeting starts early in the morning, but anything could happen throughout the weekend. Parents will be notified if a deal is reached over the weekend.