A state public labor board appointed a mediator Thursday to facilitate contract negotiations between the Berkeley Unified School District and its employees, after the labor board determined an impasse in talks had been reached.
District officials confirmed in a press release that the Berkeley Council of Classified Employees — representing more than 600 technical, support and paraprofessional employees in the school district — initiated the request to the Public Employment Relations Board to officially declare an impasse between the two parties and assign a federal mediator to aid in reconciliation of differences as soon as talks resume. The request comes amid three years of negotiating on a new contract.
Josh Daniel, president of the district’s school board, stated in a press release that a stall in talks is not at all “unusual” and remained optimistic in declaring that Berkeley Unified School District “will continue to work with BCCE to finalize a contract.”
Although the school district would not elaborate on negotiations beyond what was issued in the Thursday press release, the standstill in contract negotiations is said to pertain to “operational differences” on both sides in regards to student support, teaching and learning, according to the release.
BCCE could not be reached for comment.
The State Mediation & Conciliation Service, a division of PERB, received the request from BCCE on Jan. 27 and assigned a mediator to assist the parties three days later. It has not been announced when either party or their representatives will meet with the mediator.
“The District is optimistic that PERB mediation will help both sides reach agreement in these and other remaining areas,” Daniel said in a press release.