District, classified workers head to mediation

Sides have met 12 times without resolution

Washougal School District and its classified employees have hit a stumbling block in their contract negotiations and will soon enter into mediation.

“We’ve met 12 times and can’t come to an agreement,” said Brenda Brock, Washougal’s chapter president of the Public School Employees of Washington, SEIU 1948, which represents more than 30,000 classified educational support employees working in Washington State public schools.

The Washougal district’s classified employees have been working without a contract since Sept. 1.

The last collective bargaining agreement between the school district and its classified employees — a group that includes bus drivers, cafeteria workers, paraeducators, library assistants, bus mechanics, custodians, speech and language assistants, groundskeepers, secretaries and many other support positions — expired on Aug. 31.

Marian Young, WSD’s director of human resources, said the district and the PSE have “mutually agreed to seek mediation to settle current contract negotiations.”

The two sides will meet with a mediator on Wednesday, Nov. 8, Brock said.

“The district values the important work of our classified staff and looks forward to a settlement that meets the needs of both parties,” Young said.