MEDFORD, Ore. – The Medford teacher strike is not the only problem between the MEA and the school district. The two sides have been arguing over multiple Unfair Labor Practice complaints (ULP’s) while bargaining has been going on.
One complaint, filed in July of last year by the MEA against the district, claims two teachers were denied early retirement benefits to which they were entitled.
The paperwork filed by the MEA claims that two teachers who retired between 2012 and 2013 were denied early retirement benefits. The district argues those teachers didn’t meet the criteria, but the dispute hasn’t been settled for either side.
Superintendent Dr. Phil Long calls these complaints a common tactic by teachers unions to spread districts thin, as it requires them to send representatives up to Salem to testify.
“If we don’t appear, then we can’t state our case, in which case the other party prevails,” said Long. “It is a tactic to keep us very busy.”
Meanwhile, the MEA argues it’s the only way to ensure teachers are given what they’re promised.
“If we were not in a strike situation, I would expect that we would be still filing these because agreements have not been upheld,” said MEA representative Lisa North.
In total, there are three unsettled disputes between the two sides. All three are treated as completely separate from the strike, despite the fact that they are going on at the same time.