Negotiations Start Again Soon

Here we go again! Just a year after the last contract was ratified, the district’s two sides must come together for another negotiation session.

Contract negotiations are the give-and-take process the parties must go through to reach an agreement. Each district has a union that negotiates with the district every few years. Even though the first official meeting isn’t until April, the stress is already building on both sides as they are each thinking of the long days they spend deliberating.

The current contract ends on June 30, meaning that July 1 there will not be a contract.  The last contract ranges from 2013-2016, but was actually signed in January 2014.  If no contract is in place by July 1 the last contract is the one they go off of until the new contract is in place.

The process is very long and time consuming because there are so many small details within each change or current rule. Both sides look at each rule from every angle and decide what is the best decision for the district.

Centennial’s bargaining team consists of Ben Petersen, Rob Havrilla, Reed Schwalbach, Centennial Middle School’s Elizabeth Rouffy, Paula Nelson and Calley Ekberg.

Usually the main topics of potential controversy include teacher prep time, class sizes, and finances.  “I would like more money and less work,” joked math teacher Ben Petersen.

Interest Based Bargaining is a brand new approach to their negotiations. Other schools in the Multnomah County have tried this approach before, but it has never been done by Centennial. Traditionally, both sides would separately create the language they want to propose and then negotiate. Interest Based Bargaining is a technique where the two sides get together to talk about the areas they feel need to be addressed.

The two sides decided to try a new method because they just wanted to try something different and feel like they trust each other.