The Lighthouse School Chapter 160 ratifies first contract

Two years after they formed a union, members of The Lighthouse School Chapter 160 were able to ratify their first contract by a 12-0 vote on May 16 in Coos Bay.

OSEA Director of Field Operations Susan Miller said the ratification vote gave employees an opportunity to “participate in direct democracy” as well as “have a crystal clear voice” in their workplace.

“Congratulations to the chapter for successfully negotiating their first collective bargaining agreement,” Miller added.

The final contract includes a discipline and grievance procedure that addresses one of the key reasons the teachers and classified staff at the public charter school organized in the first place — job security.

Contract negotiations had stalled in March when the school board balked over including binding arbitration in the grievance process. In the end, the chapter accepted the school board’s proposed “grievance review panel” consisting of two union members, two school board members and five parent volunteers; however, the contract includes a tight timeline for grievances that — if deadlines are not met — would trigger binding arbitration.

While not exactly what the chapter had been asking for, OSEA Field Representative Steve Sears said the contract “does give them guaranteed rights they never had before.”

“Staff now have a chance to improve instead of being summarily let go,” Sears said.

Sears said getting to this point took a team effort. Fellow OSEA Field Representatives Tyler Whitmire and Jason Rosvold assisted in negotiations as did OSEA attorney Sarah Drescher.

“It also took teachers, classified employees, parents and members of the community all working together to pull this off,” he said.

OSEA Field Representative Steve Sears talks with The Lighthouse School Chapter 160 President Callie Hart during the May 16 contract ratification vote.

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