Of course both sides are offering their own spin on the situation, and
both are to an extent responsible for the impasse.
District officials have said the association is holding up negotiations
by focusing on one issue - the right to hold a vote among all Glendale
teachers as to whether members and nonmembers should pay an agency fee,
or union dues.
While the Glendale Board of Education has long held the view that
district teachers should not be forced to pay dues, the association has
for years been trying to collect fees from everyone it represents. In a
statement, the district said the teachers association has not made any
proposals related to teacher pay and benefits increases.
Not so, said a GTA spokesman.
'We've never said we won't discuss the other issues,' association
President Ken Niemeyer said. The association is holding off on talking
about the salary and benefits package offered by the district, an item
Niemeyer said is traditionally the last to be settled.
The association also has refused to approve a state-funded teacher
development program, which could bring more than $1 million into Glendale
schools, until its members are allowed to vote on whether all teachers
should pay an agency fee.
Since there are 30 other issues to be negotiated, if both sides were to
yield a little it seems like there could be some progress made toward an
Asking for mediation was a first step in getting the talks moving. It
should be seen just as this, and the GTA should now resume negotiations
on the other outstanding issues while the sticking point of the agency
fee is independently adjudicated.