Negotiators from the Berkeley Federation of Teachers and the Berkeley Unified School District worked another marathon day Wednesday, but a contract agreement had yet to be announced as of midnight.
Wednesday was a crucial day in the ongoing negotiation between the union and the district. Last week, state mediator Ron McGee said the two sides had moved “significantly closer to agreement,” and he was “cautiously optimistic” that this week’s session could yield a deal.
Today, the BFT Executive Board is scheduled to meet, and its members are supposed to discuss one of two options: scheduling a general membership meeting to present a tentative contract agreement, or developing further tactics, including initiating the process of strike sanctions. A strike can only occur if the mediation fails to bring about an agreement, and if a subsequent fact-finding stage also is unsuccessful.
Based on the length of Wednesday’s session, settlement seems more likely than disintegration. But neither side is talking because of the mediator-imposed “blackout” on all information related to the negotiations.