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Mediation fails in Pasco contract talks



Nearly eight hours of back and forth with a neutral third party today couldn't bring the Pasco school administration and employees any closer to a deal on pay and benefits.

"Mediation was not successful," United School Employees of Pasco president Lynne Webb told the Gradebook moments ago. "It was very apparent the district was intractable in their position."

From the district's position, the association brought nothing new to the table to discuss. "They asked questions," lead negotiator Terry Rhum told the Gradebook. "Questions that have been asked before."

He said the administration would provide whatever information it could, but "I guess we're probably headed for impasse." That's a place the district hasn't gone before, where a magistrate will hear arguments and propose a settlement.

Webb said she planned to contact the state to ask for a magistrate in the morning. She also expected to file some class-action grievances and unfair labor practice complaints against the district for some of its actions to this point. One example: The district has not paid bus driver perfect attendance bonuses that the USEP contends remain in effect while the contract is under negotiation.

"I'm not sure that intellectually I was convinced we would come to agreement, but in my heart I hoped we would," Webb said, calling the turn of events "disappointing."

We expect to get more details in the morning, at which point we'll post again.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:05am]


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