Boulder teaches union talks tough to members, softer to the media

Categories: Education, News

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In "Strike Door Opens in Boulder Teacher Dispute," Melissa Tingley, head of the Boulder Valley Education Association union, tells Denver Post reporter Jeremy Meyer that the filing of a formal notice to strike was mainly procedural. "It's to keep all our options open," she said. "There is obviously not a strike planned."

Maybe not -- but Tingley's tone in a message to union members, which can be found on the BVEA website, isn't nearly so calming. In the document, Tingley says, "We had hoped that we would not have to take this step. We fully expected to be able to settle our contract dispute during mediation on September 17 and 18. We came to the table ready to negotiate in good faith. Unfortunately the district did not do the same. Since talks broke down again, we were forced to notify the DOL that we might have to take some job action."

Read the entire update below:

BVEA Files with CO Department of Labor

Monday afternoon the Boulder Valley Education Association (BVEA) filed official notice of a labor dispute with the Colorado Department of Labor (DOL). This notice is required by law before BVEA begins organizing any activity that may disrupt the normal business of the school district.

BVEA President Melissa Tingley said, "We had hoped that we would not have to take this step. We fully expected to be able to settle our contract dispute during mediation on September 17 and 18. We came to the table ready to negotiate in good faith. Unfortunately the district did not do the same. Since talks broke down again, we were forced to notify the DOL that we might have to take some job action."

The DOL notice states, "The BVEA hereby gives written notice, pursuant to C.R.S. Section 8-1-125, of the instant labor dispute and of its intent to take such actions as it finds necessary to protect its members' interest. BVEA advises the District by copy of this notice that employees of the District may, upon conclusion of the Director of the Division of Labor's jurisdiction without satisfactory resolution of the pending dispute, temporarily withhold services for such period of time as it is necessary to secure, preserve, and protect their interests."

The Association Representative Council, BVEA's building level governance body, voted to authorize BVEA to file this notice should mediation fail. The notice does not mean that a strike or other job action is imminent. It does protect the rights and interests of BVEA members to withhold their services should that become necessary.

"We continue to hope that the district will decide to work with us to settle this contract dispute as soon as possible," Tingley stated. "The district knows that this is about more than a 1% COLA. It's about the implementation of a professional salary schedule, something we and the district have been working on for three years. Now is the time to do this, when the district has new money from the state.

"We will be talking with our members and seeking their guidance before we make any further decisions. We have taken the step of filing with the DOL in order to keep all our options open," concluded Tingley.


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