Here we go. Negotiations loom large in the next few weeks, and I can tell you that the governor and his minions are still trying like dogs to make the lives of educators in Ohio troublesome. Having said that, I can also tell you that every indication from our superintendent and the local board inclines me to think that our work here in Mentor is appreciated and that all parties want to get to the table and craft a deal that benefits the district and its stakeholders. And, I must add, we want to do it in a way that prevents any misinformation and/or negative rumor-milling. The realities are what they are, but we are transparent and communicative, and our members and this community deserve a coherent and credible process in negotiations.
I would be naïve and irresponsible to think that in advocating our next contract that the landscape is easily navigated or dominated by any single group among the constituents of MTA. 100 or so of our members are near retirement, and 220 or so are in the first ten years of their Mentor careers—based on STRS realities and the new ODE demands, this creates a very unprecedented situation.
My job, as MTA president, is to lead a negotiating team that will best serve the interests and conditions of all of MTA’s members, and I fully intend to lead a team into the room that will do that. But I hope you will bear in mind that our demographic is an inverse bell curve with respect to years in and years to retirement, and that creates challenges and opportunities.
Honestly, I’m cautiously optimistic. Truthfully, nothing in the past four years of Ohio financing or politics has given me anything to be encouraged about. But through all, we’ve hit excellence regularly, and that’s because of your work. And that can’t hurt.
I hope that MTA solidarity will be apparent and noteworthy to anyone paying attention as we deal with the financial and working condition scenarios in this negotiation. We’ve done more for less for a few years now, and we deserve an upgrade. Having said that, we may need to remind the administration of that if they don’t already recognize it as we proceed.
Stand Strong MTA