Mediator requires USC teachers and school district to meet

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 23, 2002

United South Central School District teachers and school board members are going to go back to mediation to try to work out a teacher contract deal, according to teachers union representative Jim Sand.

&uot;My understanding is that our mediator,

Alan Olson, of the Bureau of Mediation Services, contacted the school board’s lawyer, Kevin Rupp, to request further mediation,&uot; said Sand.

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The threat of a strike had been looming when a letter, requesting another negotiation meeting, sent two weeks ago by the union to the district was not answered.

Sand said the mediator stepped in to force more mediation between the two groups.

The district and the union are trying to settle on a contract. The issue of disagreement is the severance package. In the last meetings the teachers union wanted $72,000 and the district was offering $60,000.

Two other similar situations have resulted in strikes elsewhere in the state. In Red Wing the union has just recently gone on strike, while in International Falls a short strike was finally settled.

Sand said that the union would much rather settle than have a strike. &uot;As long was we are willingly going or ordered to go to the table to mediate, we will not call a strike,&uot; he said.

While no date has yet been set for a mediation meeting, Sand said the state appointed mediator has mandated a meeting.