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Tentative agreement reached with WSD and WEA

Mattawa Area News of Mattawa, Washington

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After five months of working at it, the Wahluke School District and the Wahluke Education Association have reached a tentative contract agreement. The local teachers were working without a contract since Aug. 31 of this year. Negotiations with the district and the union started in June.

WEA President LaVasha Murdoch explained a bit about what the agreement means. She is a first grade teacher at Wahluke

Basically the district representatives and the association representatives have come to an agreement on our new contract language, she said.

"It is tentative because the association has to vote to decide whether we ratify it or not and then the school board has to decide on whether they will accept it or not, as well," she said.

If the members and the district ratify the agreement, the agreement becomes the contract, effective until August 2D 17.

No details were released since the vote hasn't been ratified.

Superintendent Aaron Chavez released a statement on the negotiations.

"We can't release details yet, but we have reached a tentative agreement with the teachers union. It should be approved in the next few weeks," he said.

"We worked late last Wednesday to ensure that we put a fair and equitable deal on the table that both the district and union could agree on. The district works hard to support our teachers, community, and students," he added.

District and association representatives will meet this Thursday to make sure the agreement is worded in a way agreeable to both sides.

After that, the next step is a meeting on Monday, Nov. 9 where members of the union will be meeting and voting on whether to ratify or not. Results will be available to members that evening.

LaVasha said, "I can tell you that the majority of our bargaining team feels really good about the agreement and hope that the rest of our members will too."

"As with any negotiations, there was a lot of give and take and trying to meet in the middle. Hopefully we have done well for our members and they will agree. If not, then it's back to the drawing board and we begin this process again," she said.

She explained this is her fourth time negotiating the WEA contract and the members have never voted a tentative agreement down.

"I am hopeful that our members will be content," she said.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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