DC teachers union, city head to arbitration in talks for new contract

Negotiations over a new contract between the Washington Teachers’ Union and the city are headed to arbitration.

That comes after the union was unable to reach an agreement in the mediation process.

Union president Jacqueline Pogue Lyons said that the group is “very disappointed,” because teachers haven’t had a new contract in three years.

The teachers’ union represents 4,000 of the city’s public schoolteachers and has collective bargaining rights that allow them to negotiate a contract that covers compensation and labor conditions.

The District’s public school system and the teachers’ union were unable to come to a compromise in July, when the labor contract renewal was already three years expired.

The current contract from 2016 expired in October 2019. Since then, the union and school system have operated under the agreements in that contract, but teachers have not received an increase in their base pay.

On Tuesday, the D.C. State Board of Education passed a resolution that urges Mayor Muriel Bowser to settle the negotiations in a timely manner.

In September, Bowser said that she was proud of the offer the city put on the table.

But some longtime teachers and members of the D.C. State Board of Education see the waiting game as giving educators the runaround.

“It’s shameful to nickel-and-dime our teachers — if that’s what’s happening — who have worked nonstop under the most stressful circumstances and who are the absolute backbone of our education system under any circumstances,” said Ward 1 board member Emily Gasoi, directing her comments to Bowser directly.

Bowser’s office hasn’t responded to WTOP’s inquiry for comment on the status of negotiations.

Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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