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News / Clark County News

Vancouver schools, union are near deal

Language about layoffs in pact with support staff was heart of disagreement

By Susan Parrish, Columbian Education Reporter
Published: August 14, 2013, 5:00pm

Vancouver Public Schools and one of its unions may be close to agreement on some contract language that has been under negotiation since 2010.

The disputed contract language has to do with the process for laying off employees and calling them back to work.

Read the hearing examiner’s decision.

The Vancouver Association of Educational Support Professionals represents more than 600 clerical workers, school secretaries, tech assistants and paraprofessionals who work with students. The union had filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the school district, alleging that the employer refused to bargain with the union.

Read the hearing examiner's decision.

A June 19 decision by a hearing officer at the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission concluded: “The union’s complaint is sustained in its entirety.”

The school district disagreed with the decision and filed a notice of appeal with PERC on July 5 and submitted a written appeal brief on July 15, said Missy Hallead, the district’s assistant superintendent for human resources. The district is awaiting the ruling by the commission.

“The district will comply with the final order of the commission, whatever that outcome is,” Hallead said.

Although the June 19 decision required the district to complete five action items, those items have been put into abeyance until the outcome of the appeal, Hallead said.

Meanwhile, the union’s current contract expires Aug. 31. The union and the district met and “the layoff language was modified through bargaining and was tentatively agreed upon as of June 14,” Hallead said.

The union is taking that new contract to a ratification vote at the Sept. 5 general membership meeting, said Sue Prindle, co-president of the union.

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4515; http://twitter.com/Col_School; susan.parrish@columbian.com

Columbian Education Reporter