WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Educators in the newly expanded Mount Greylock Regional School District are taking their contract grievances to the state, saying school officials have been negotiating in bad faith.
Teachers in the Lanesborough and Williamstown elementary schools and at Mount Greylock Regional School have filed a series of unfair labor practice complaints with the state Department of Labor Relations, according to a statement released on Monday.
A group representing the three former bargaining committees — one for each school — started negotiating a unified contract with the newly formed preK-12 school district in January. The Transition Committee, temporarily in charge until a new school committee for the expanded district can be elected, hoped to get that done by July but negotiations are still under way.
The teachers say their salaries have been unjustly frozen and have asked that the prior contractual increases and other provisions be honored since a new contract is not in force. That would be in line with past practice, according to the Lanesborough and Williamstown education associations and Mount Greylock Educators Association.
The teachers' unions went public with their complaints last month. The negotiations are headed for mediation and the three current contracts are set to expire over the next two years, with Williamstown Elementary coming up first at the end of this August.
Transition Committee Chairman Joe Bergeron declined to comment on Monday afternoon.
Bergeron said his committee decided during an executive session on June 14 not to issue a response to the union's initial public airing of the grievance. And the committee likewise did not vote to authorize Bergeron or a member of its negotiation subcommittee to speak publicly on behalf of the district.
The three associations also accuse the committee of trying to "run the clock out" with its refusal to respond to 36 proposals regarding the new unified contract before the committee's self-imposed July 1 deadline.
The three associations say they fully support the regionalizing effort but maintain that the window for negotiating and ratifying a new unified contract was unrealistic.
The Transition Committee has a meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but Bergeron learned of the union's latest press release on Monday too late to call an executive session for the July 18 meeting where the committee could deliberate on a public response.
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