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Teacher contract talks between Boston, union collapse

City, union leaders turn to a mediator

A last-ditch attempt by Boston school and union leaders to reach agreement on a new teachers’ contract failed after a nearly 16-hour negotiating session that ended Tuesday morning, sending the dispute to a state mediator.

“We are all sorry that the bargain could not be worked out,’’ Richard Stutman, the teachers union president, wrote in an electronic news bulletin to the union’s more than 5,000 members, saying that the School Department’s latest offer was unacceptable.

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Superintendent Carol R. Johnson blamed the teachers’ union for the breakdown in negotiations, which have gone on for 21 months.

“What is most unfortunate is that instead of working on developing a contract that would benefit our students and our teachers, giving them both the time and supports they need to be successful, the BTU squandered away this opportunity by continuing to make unreasonable and irresponsible financial demands,’’ Johnson said in a statement.

The School Department had been pushing for teachers at all 125 schools to work an extra 30 minutes a day without offering additional compensation for that time beyond an annual salary increase. But by the time the session ended, the School Department was willing to offer teachers some additional pay and was now pushing to have teachers at elementary, middle, and K-8 schools work an extra 45 minutes a day.

Stutman said in his news bulletin that the School Department was offering to pay teachers an additional $13.89 per day for the extra 45 minutes of work. By comparison, teachers make an average of $41.03 an hour.

“We could not accept this and, in fact, are insulted that the department places such a low value on our value and expertise,’’ Stutman wrote.

The School Department said in a newsletter it issued to parents and other community members that the union was seeking a $189 million pay package for teachers, compared with $124 million that the School Department was pitching.

The two sides were seeking to agree on a five-year contract for teachers, a longer term than the two sides had originally sought.

James Vaznis can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globevaznis.
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