Mediator to solve dispute over Anchorage teachers’ contracts

Dozens of teachers with signs gather. Some say: No contract, still working.
Dozens of Anchorage teachers and school staff rallied in support of the Anchorage Educators Association collective bargaining team. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

A federal mediator is expected to help resolve differences over key terms of contracts for Anchorage teachers after the union and the state’s largest school district declared an impasse.

“We’ve been able to resolve quite a few issues, but at this time, both sides feel like a mediator would be a worthwhile endeavor,” Corey Aist, president of the Anchorage Education Association, told the Anchorage Daily News.

Teachers have been working under a three-year contract that expired in June.

“The primary remaining issue in the negotiation is the compensation package for educators, including health insurance,” MJ Thim, a district spokesperson, said in an email.

Aist, whose union represents more than 3,000 teachers and other personnel, said another sticking point is classroom planning time, as the district faces a huge number of unfilled teaching positions and class-support positions.

The district offered a salary increase for teachers, but Aist said that also remains unresolved as educators are concerned about inflation.

Contract negotiations between the district and another union representing 1,300 educational support staff will also head to a federal mediator for advisory arbitration in January.

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