RACINE — Negotiations between Racine Unified School District and Racine Educators Union appear to have moved forward, though some issues, such as proposed changes to medical benefits, are still being discussed.
Ryan Knudson, a teacher and REU representative, told Racine Unified School Board on Monday on behalf of the union that they were “pleased with the respectful salary negotiations that we just completed.”
REU and the district agreed to a 2.44% base wage increase which the school board approved on Monday. Knudson said the union hoped to continue salary negotiations in the same manner.
“While we appreciate this development, I must point out that a cost-of-living adjustment does nothing more than keep wages on pace with inflation,” said Knudson. “It doesn’t increase purchasing power; it doesn’t honor years of experience with the district.
“That being said, the REU stands ready to build on this successful collaboration and find ways to supplement wages in ways that honor these things.”
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The board also approved several other salary- and benefits-related agenda items including:
- Tentative base wages for building service employees;
- Salary schedules for education assistants and leadership and business staff;
- Prescription benefits for diabetes and opioid management;
- Teacher health plan premium; and
- Dental PPO employee contributions.
When the board reached an agenda item regarding capping the maximum rollover for employee health reimbursements, Board President Brian O’Connell told the board the item was not ready and recommended it be deferred.
“We do understand the district’s interest in addressing possible future liability issues,” Knudson told the board. “However, we found the proposed solution to be unsatisfactory, and that can harm employees’ economic welfare and create further budget difficulties for the district. We believe it best to revisit the issues and continue to collaborate to find a solution that is fair, equitable and sustainable long term.”