School Committee, Carlisle teachers union begin mediation

The first state-assisted mediation session between the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) and the teachers’ union, the Carlisle Teachers’ Association (CTA), was held on Wednesday, December 5, with the next session scheduled for January 3, 2019. The Carlisle School teachers are in their sixth month of working without a contract after the previous three-year contract expired on July 1. Negotiations between the CSC and the CTA had been held throughout 2018, but an impasse was reached, according to CTA President Linda Vanaria (see “Carlisle teachers’ union, CSC head for mediation,” Mosquito, October 17.)

CSC Chair David Model said that the December 5 Negotiation Subcommittee meeting was started in open session as required by the Open Meeting Law and was then immediately convened to an executive session for the purpose of contract negotiations. Sitting on the Negotiation Subcommittee are Model, CSC member Mary Storrs, Carlisle School Superintendent Jim O’Shea and Business Manager Susan Pray, along with Board of Selectmen members Nathan Brown and Luke Ascolillo, and Town Treasurer Kerry Colburn-Dion. Also present were the mediator assigned by the Commonwealth Department of Labor Relations and Andy Waugh from the school’s legal counsel, Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane, LLP. Model explained that the mediation is nonbinding.

Asked to describe the mediation process, Model explained that the mediator “. . . goes back and forth between the Negotiation Subcommittee and the CTA committee, who are in separate rooms. The point of meeting separately with a third party is to assist each side to openly discuss its issues with an intermediary, and the mediator presumably articulates these to the other party without the emotion of a face-to-face meeting.” He added, “I can confirm that both sides met with the state’s mediator, but beyond that I prefer not to elaborate.” Asked whether a public statement regarding any progress would be made, Model said, “We are working within a standard procedural framework for negotiating a teachers’ contract.” He said both the CSC and the CTA are being cautious with public statements. ∆