Anchorage School District, union to continue contract talks
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage School District and the union representing its educators have agreed to another round of negotiations with mediators in hopes of reaching a contract agreement.
The district and the Anchorage Education Association had chosen to go on to arbitration following two days of talks this week with federal mediators, but the groups changed course Thursday, KTVA-TV reported .
The groups had selected arbitrators and were expecting to schedule an arbitration hearing, said Tom Klaameyer, the union’s president. The mediators called the groups Thursday after talks this week wrapped up.
“They felt we had made some significant progress to schedule another round of mediation,” Klaameyer said. “So we will go ahead with that sometime in the next two weeks.”
In a statement, the district said it was “pleased to continue its work with the teachers’ union” to reach a deal.
“We worked diligently and collaboratively during the last two days of federal mediation, making tremendous progress toward reaching an agreement,” said Todd Hess, the district’s chief of human resources.
Dates for the third round of mediation have not been set. The dates depend on the mediators’ availability, the district said.
The district and union have been trying to reach a contract agreement since April. Teachers are continuing to work under the terms of the previous contract that expired in June.
The union represents about 3,300 members.
Klaameyer said the union will hang on to its arbitrator.
“If we don’t need the arbitrator we can cancel at any time,” Klaameyer said. “We hope we don’t get to that point.”
Information from: KTVA-TV, http://www.ktva.com