Nonteachers to pack Vancouver schools board meeting

They chose not to disrupt classes Monday over contract disrupt

By Howard Buck, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: September 12, 2011, 6:45 PM

 

School secretaries, clerical and technology assistants and paraeducator workers mired in a labor contract dispute with Vancouver Public Schools chose not to disrupt school operations on Monday.

There were no pickets or signs of strife at Vancouver schools on the fourth school day this month — a key day for recording student enrollment.

Instead, many of the 600-plus members of the Vancouver Association of Educational Support Professionals plan to pack the Vancouver school board meeting late Tuesday afternoon.

The board convenes at its new meeting time of 5:15 p.m. in the Robert C. Bates Center for Educational Leadership, 2921 Falk Road.

The association is “taking it one day at a time,” said Lynn Davidson, regional UniServ union representative for the group. She plans to meet with workers at several more district buildings this week, after the group filed an unfair labor practice complaint on Friday with state officials in Olympia.

Union members will then “decide what steps we’re going to take next,” Davidson said.

Vancouver school teachers, who as a group have pledged support for the VAESP, are taking a similar tack.

The Vancouver Education Association has summoned about 1,250 certificated teachers to an “all members meeting” at 5 p.m. Tuesday to address all questions over the VEA’s own pending work agreement. An electronic ratification vote by union members would be scheduled only if members decide to proceed, said VEA President Courtney Hoover, Skyview High School career and technical education teacher.

That’s after VEA’s executive board huddled Monday to discuss the nonteaching union standoff and “where we will be lending support,” Hoover said.

The Vancouver district announced Sept. 1 it had imposed new contract terms for the VAESP, running through August 2013, after the two sides failed to reach an agreement following more than a year of talks.

Upset with new layoff and work schedule provisions in the contract, the nonteaching workers demand that the district return to the bargaining table.