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Morgan Schools, union reach agreement
By Chris Crook, Zanesville Times Recorder,
McCONNELSVILLE − Morgan Local Schools and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 51 have reached an agreement that will bring the striking support staff back to work.
On Friday, 10 days after the start of the strike, OAPSE and the district struck a deal which was approved by the Morgan Local Schools board on Sunday, said Tom Quaintance, OAPSE Local 51 president.
A statement issued by the district on Friday said that both sides agreed to a 14% raise over the course of the three-year contract, 6% the first year, then back to back 4% raises for the final two years. The agreement was reached with the help of a federal mediator. The raises are in addition to yearly step raises.
Raises were the primary sticking point for the union, Quaitance said. The contract was ratified by the union 71-17, he said.
Quaintance said, "The community support has been phenomenal. We cannot being to thank them enough. There are so many supporters I cannot even begin to thank. We will always love and respect this community," he said.
Bus transportation resumed on Monday, with union members, including cooks, bus drivers and other support personnel reporting to their usual assignments Monday morning.
"Both sides worked hard to get to this point, and we want to sincerely thank everyone on the negotiating team for their hard work, diligence and commitment," Morgan Local Schools Superintendent Kristin Barker said.
"We have great respect for the bargaining process. We know that emotions can become intense whenever people are passionate about a cause. We are now ready to move forward together in the interest of our greatest mutual passion – to educate our children and provide them the opportunity to achieve the skill required to work productively, live successfully, and be a contributing member of society in their lives beyond Morgan Local Schools," the statement from Barker concluded.
By Monday morning, references to the strike had been removed from the districts website, with the exception of a statement from Barker.
On June 30, the contract between the district and the 142 member Morgan Local Education Association will expire. The union represents the district's teachers. A date for bargaining and negotiations has not been set, said Tiffany Lanning, the union's president.