Contract talks stall again
CROSBY, Minn. -- Negotiators for 87 striking Crosby-Ironton teachers criticized school district officials Friday for disclosing information about this week's talks.
Union president Stan Nagorski said the state mediator told both sides not to talk publicly about what happened during the sessions, which lasted a total of 17 hours Wednesday and Thursday.
"It destroys what we try to nurture and build (in mediation) and that's trust between us and the district," chief union negotiator Doug Mayfield told the Brainerd Dispatch.
Superintendent Linda Lawrie denied Friday that the district was told not to publicly discuss the talks.
Board members released a statement late Thursday that said their latest offer included a 7 percent total package increase, and that union negotiators rejected it.
Union leaders disputed the figures. Mayfield said the offer worked out to a 5 percent increase. Other unresolved issues include health insurance.
No new negotiations are scheduled in the strike, which began Feb. 9.
Sixty-five of the 84 first-graders returned to class at Cuyuna Range Elementary School in Deerwood on Thursday with replacement teachers. The replacements are making $300 a day, compared with the $95 a day regular substitutes would make, Lawrie said.
The superintendent said the district was preparing to bring back second-graders next week using replacement teachers.
Linda Owen, spokeswoman for the teachers union Education Minnesota, said replacements will be subject to having their union membership revoked or future membership denied.
The Crosby-Ironton girls' basketball team had to forfeit its sectional playoff game against Blackduck on Thursday night after no settlement was reached.
Information from: The Brainerd Daily Dispatch, www.brainerddispatch.com