COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Columbus Education Association and Columbus City Schools are going back to the bargaining table Wednesday.
An Ohio State University law professor said when it comes to bargaining, the negotiations for a new teachers’ contract have gone pretty much how she expected.
“I don’t think yet we are in a place where we haven’t been and I don’t think we are seeing things that are that out of the norm,” said Courtlyn Roser-Jones, an assistant professor of law at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
The president of the Columbus Board of Education said there have been 19 meetings between the two sides since March.
Some of the issues holding up an agreement are class size, HVAC maintenance, planning time, and hiring and retention.
By a unanimous vote, the union issued a 10-day strike notice last week. a necessary step if the union eventually decides to strike.
“Neither party wants that,” Roser-Jones said. “That is incredibly disruptive of both employers and teachers who just want to teach.”
According to the union, the two sides have not met for about a week and a half, but both sides are set to have a joint meeting with a federal mediator on Wednesday.
Roser-Jones, whose research focuses on labor and workplace law, said the meeting is a positive sign.
“We’ve been here before and these two parties were able to come to an agreement, and I trust they can get there now,” Roser-Jones said. “These are two parties that are negotiating a contract for three years, so both of them have a lot of stakes in getting it right.”
She added that the one difference between now and the negotiations of the last contract is the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are always differences in a new contract, but this contract is a chance for them to sort of immortalize what worked and what didn’t work in the last two, three years,” Roser-Jones said. “I’ve been at this long enough to know I don’t panic really up until the 11th hour and we are so far from the 11th hour right now.”
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday morning.