Milbrae Schools, Union, at Impasse

The school district on Friday offered the Millbrae Education Association a 2 percent salary increase, in exchange for a time-dependent cap on retiree and health benefits. The union wants 3 percent and an increase in benefits.

Talks stalled Friday between the Millbrae School District and the Millbrae Education Association, when the district came up short in its offer of a salary increase.

At its sixth negotiation session, the district offered the MEA a 2 percent salary increase in exchange for a cap on retiree and health benefits once the employee reaches the age of 65 or the benefits have been in place for 10 years, whichever comes first.

The MEA countered with a 3 percent salary increase request and a benefit hike of $265 per month per member, schools Superintendent Linda Luna reported.

The district would bear a $626,382 cost of an ongoing increase; The district rejected the counter-offer and an impasse was declared, Luna said.

"The district simply can not afford MEA's proposals," Luna wrote in a news release.

A mediator must now be appointed by the California State Mediation Service, Luna said.

If mediation -- there is no time limit -- fails, the mediator can release the parties and the step involves bringing in a three-person panel.

Each party appoints one member of the panel; the third member is appointed by both parties as neutral, Luna said.

The panel holds a hearing and issues a recommended settlement and if the impasse is broken, the parties begin negotiations again; should that fail and a second impasse declared, the district can impose its "last, best offer."






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