Middletown teacher labor talks: Officials hint at break-through

Credit: Journal News

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Credit: Journal News

Special emergency meeting will be conducted Dec. 7

One of the most publicly contentious teacher contract negotiations in recent Middletown Schools’ history may soon be coming to an end.

The labor contract talks between members of the Middletown Teachers Association and city school officials earlier this month saw a rare public demonstration by employees on a school campus and their filing of allegations with the state accusing the district of unfair labor practices.

ExploreMiddletown teachers protest stalled labor talks, file complaint against district

But earlier this week school officials announced a special emergency meeting will be held the morning of Dec. 7 regarding the ongoing negotiations, which involve the union’s 462 city schools instructors.

“The purpose of the meeting is to approve the negotiated agreement with the Middletown Teachers’ Association,” wrote Middletown Schools Treasurer Randy Bertram. “Action will be taken.”

Neither Bertram, nor other city school district officials, responded to multiple messages seeking comment. And representatives from the teachers’ labor union – and state teacher labor association officials – also did not respond to solicitations to comment.

But Chris Urso, president of the Middletown Board of Education, told the Journal-News Friday it is his understanding the union will meet to vote on a tentative agreement on Dec. 6, prior to any action the school board is now scheduled to take on an agreement the next morning.

“I cannot say much about ongoing negotiations,” said Urso, whose board oversees the 6,300-student district.

But he added, “on Dec. 7, (the board) hopes to have the opportunity to approve a contract that our exceptional teachers support.”

During a Nov. 15 union rally and press conference at the roadway entrance to the Middletown High School and middle school campus, teachers complained of variety of labor issues stemming from re-opened contract talks that began in August.

Teachers are in year two of the three-year contract that ends in July 2023.

Among teachers’ complaints were district recommendations for instructors to earn “micro-credentials” as part of their employment.

Middletown teacher and MTA President Laurie Woods said at the time teachers want more of a voice in the district’s 10 schools and their daily operations.

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