Another Florida teachers union declares impasse in contract negotiations

"It's about respect," Indian River County Education Association president Liz Cannon says.
Published January 7

Citing money as a primary factor, the Indian River County Education Association announced Monday its contract negotiations have arrived at a stalemate, and called for a special magistrate to help with the process.

Indian River's move comes just weeks after the Brevard Federation of Teachers declared impasse in its talks. Expectations are that United School Employees of Pasco leaders will take a similar step later in January, if their next set of talks do not yield results.

Liz Cannon, Indian River's union president, said in a released statement that her group does not believe the district has anyone on its negotiating team who is qualified to say how much money is available for raises and benefits.

The district has gone without a chief operating officer since late July. It also has used three different lead negotiators for contract talks over the past eight months.

Union officials said the district has not responded to some of their proposals for more than half a year, and has canceled bargaining sessions six times.

"The district has expressed their appreciation and respect of teachers, but their actions clearly express the absolute opposite," Cannon said her statement. "It's about respect."

The association said it hoped to complete non-financial issues before sending the contract to impasse hearings.