To Members of the WPS Community,
We wanted to give you an update on the status of negotiations with the Wellesley Educators Association (WEA). Thus far we have had two mediation sessions with a state-appointed mediator in an effort to reach a fair and equitable agreement as soon as possible. At the direction of our mediator, we met in our separate caucuses while the mediator conducted a version of “shuttle diplomacy” going back and forth between the groups to understand the issues and begin to see where we might reach consensus. We currently have one additional session scheduled with the mediator for April 6.
Unfortunately, on Wednesday the parties were unable to reach an agreement during an extended session that lasted until about 9:30 p.m. We wanted to share with you details on additional items we offered to the WEA during this session, in addition to the package that the School Committee previously shared with the community.
Yesterday, we worked to develop a proposal that includes all the Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) that were requested by the WEA over four years. This narrows the gap between our financial proposals, and provides for an estimated four-year increase of almost $9.7 million. Once we modeled the financial implications of this proposal, the mediator shared it with the WEA. The WEA has not yet provided a response to this proposal.
As the School Committee has indicated previously, our ability to meet the WEA’s requests is constrained by the budget that has been provided to us by the Town, which in turn is subject to the limitations of Proposition 2½.
We believe the School Committee offer is an outstanding, historic package for our valued educators and staff. It meets all of the COLA increases as requested by the WEA and includes movement on each of their priority issues. We will continue to update the WPS community when we can, and look forward to reaching an agreement with all five WEA units as soon as possible.
Linda Chow and Catherine Mirick
Members of the School Committee bargaining team