Janesville teachers, district deadlocked in contract talks
JANESVILLE — With contract talks between the Janesville School District and the local teachers union at an impasse, leaders from both groups said Monday they will consult a state mediator in hopes of reaching a compromise.
The school board and the Janesville Education Association held a third round of negotiations for a one-year contract in a closed meeting but did not reach a deal. Under Act 10, the union can bargain only for base wages and not for working conditions or benefits.
The contract would cover the fiscal year from July 1, 2013, until June 30, 2014.
The board opened talks in early June by offering no wage increase. The union asked for a 2.07 percent increase, the maximum allowed under the law. Since then, neither side has budged.
Representatives used a mediator when they were at a deadlock over the district's last four-year contract, which expires June 30, Superintendent Karen Schulte said.
After meeting for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, Schulte said in a joint interview with JEA President Dave Parr they agreed to apply online for mediation with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. The state agency will submit a list of names, and both sides will alternately eliminate members from the pool until they are left with one mediator.
Parr said the process could add three to four weeks to their timeline, but both parties hope it will allow for a settlement.
“The scope of negotiation is so narrow, but it's still a talked-about issue that we both can't agree on,” he said. “Both parties want what's best for themselves.”
He said “nothing (had) changed” after Monday's meeting. Neither side brought the possibility of incentive-based pay for teachers to the table, he said.
Agreements for two American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees units for secretaries, clerks and aides and custodial, maintenance and food service staff are headed for final approval at today's board meeting. Those agreements contain a 1 percent wage increase for 2013-14.