BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island Education Association, the local teachers’ union, has denied allegations of impropriety filed with the Maine Labor Relations Board by the MDI Regional School System board in connection with negotiations for a new three-year teachers’ contract.
The union had filed a “prohibited practice complaint” against the school board on Sept. 14. On Oct. 4, the school board filed a response, in which it denied the union’s allegations and filed a counterclaim against the union. The union filed its response to that Oct. 22.
In their formal complaints and responses, the two sides have accused each other of using pressure tactics and failing to bargain in good faith.
The school board, in its counterclaim, said the union’s lead negotiator, Daniel Horning, had used pressure tactics during a Sept. 8 meeting that was held to schedule another bargaining session. The union, in its response, accused school board chair and lead negotiator, Kristi Losquadro, of doing the same.
“At that meeting, Mr. Horning repeatedly tried to pressure Ms. Losquadro to present the (school board’s) salary proposal from the mediation disclosure as a formal written proposal in advance of the scheduled fact-finding hearing,” the school board wrote in its complaint.
The teachers’ union wrote in its response to that assertion, “In response to Losquadro’s repeated pressure of Mr. Horning to give a written counter proposal to the employer’s verbal proposal in mediation, Horning requested Losquadro put the proposal in writing so that the association may properly evaluate and consider its meaning and intent…
“The employer demanded the association bargain against itself and respond to a proposal that was no longer valid and which the employer for some reason refused to submit in writing during regular bargaining…”
Neil Daley, executive director of the Maine Labor Relations Board, will now review the complaints and responses to determine whether they contain “actionable claims” under Maine’s labor relations laws.
“If they do, we will schedule a pre-hearing conference and then the hearing itself before the full Maine Labor Relations Board,” Daly said. “If either the complaint or counter complaint fails to allege any actionable claim, the complainant will have the right to amend the complaint.
“If after amendment, either complaint fails to allege an actionable claim, I will dismiss it, subject to appeal to the board.”
The two sides began negotiations for a new teachers’ contract last February. The previous three-year contract expired Aug. 31.