District, classified staff reach tentative agreement
The union, the Oregon School Employees Association, represents cooks, secretaries, technology workers, custodians, teaching assistants and maintenance employees. McMinnville has about 300 full- and part-time classified workers.
"We're pleased. We look forward to a continued great relationship with the classified staff," Superintendent Maryalice Russell said. "We appreciate the many contributions they make to our students. We rely on their skills every day."
School board members will consider ratifying the contract agreement at its Aug. 25 work session, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the district office, 1500 N.E. Baker St. Union members will meet Aug. 27 to vote on ratification.
Bargaining teams from the district and OSEA came to the tentative four-year agreement when they met Tuesday night. Earlier, they had agreed on several points, but went into Tuesday's session with compensation and insurance benefits still on the table.
More than three dozen classified workers wearing "No pain, no gain" buttons filled the school district office Monday night during the school board's business meeting.
Paula Roth, a secretary who is president of the local OSEA chapter, thanked the district for its bargaining efforts. She asked district officials to continue to work with the union to "reach an agreement that not only improves our members' lives economically, but also demonstrates the district's commitment to its classified staff."
Roth noted that over the summer, classified workers have been busy helping to keep libraries open, serving meals, cleaning and repairing buildings and grounds, installing and preparing technology for teachers and students, and even assisting a beekeeper in removing a massive colony from the wall of the Patton Middle School gym.
"McMinnville classified employees influence every aspect of our students' educational experience," Roth said. "The work we do creates the foundation for a great education."
School board members and the superintendent assured the classified employees that the district values them highly. "We appreciate everything you do," board member Janis Braich said.
Russell said the district cares deeply about the classified staff. "We believe they make a difference in the lives of the kids every day," she said.