Teachers to vote on labor contract

By Eric Stevick

Herald Writer

LYNNWOOD — Less than a week after rejecting a labor contract proposal, the Edmonds Education Association has reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract.

"The medical coverage was the big stumbling block, and there has been movement," said Dan Wilson, president of the 1,300-member teachers’ union. "We will share that movement with our members and see if we can move forward."

The tentative accord was reached Wednesday.

Neither side is releasing details about the contract offer until the teachers’ union votes.

"We want to be respectful to the EEA membership learning about it before the rest of the world reads about," said Debbie Jakala, a school district spokeswoman.

About 70 percent of those Edmonds teachers participating in a contract vote Aug. 29 rejected the district’s previous offer. Wilson said union leadership could not recommend that offer because of shortcomings in the medical coverage.

School district officials say the state allocation for health care does not offset the rate at which the district’s insurance plan is increasing.

Last year, the state provided $426 a month per full-time employee for medical coverage. This year, the state increased that amount to $455 — still not enough to cover increasing premiums, Jakala said.

From that health care allocation, the state requires the district to pay back a portion for employees’ medical insurance when they retire.

"The district is agreeing to pay a portion of the retirement insurance subsidy," Jakala said.

Exact cost of the new contract offer to the district budget is being calculated.

"When we look at something like this, we look at it as something we are going to provide to all our employee groups," Jakala said.

You can call Herald Writer Eric Stevick at 425-339-3446

or send e-mail to stevick@heraldnet.com.

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