Eagle Point strike vote today

Eagle Point teachers are due to vote today on whether to strike over stalled contract negotiations.

Some employees plan to picket at 4 p.m. at Cascade Bingo Hall, 7455 Crater Lake Highway in White City. They will follow with the strike vote at 6 p.m.

The strike vote comes on the same day a union bargaining team plans to meet with the district for another mediation session and follows an announcement this month that 28 employees would be laid off.

In a statement released Friday, the Eagle Point Education Association said the employees' goal "is to settle a contract to avoid disruptions to students, schools and the community."

Should the majority of the district's 400 employees favor a strike, they would have to wait 10 days before walking out. Any resolution during that cooling-off period would effectively end the strike, said Michael Remick, Eagle Point district human resources director.

The two parties met for three straight days of mediation recently without a resolution.

The district and union had made progress in contract language but still are at odds on the length of the contract and specifics on pay.

The union has pressed for a one-year contract, so pay can be negotiated again next year.

The district supports a three-year contract with a 2 percent retroactive pay raise for 2008-09 and no cost-of-living increases in the second and third year. Teachers who have been with the district for 14 years or less would receive an annual pay increase for experience, referred to as a step increase. The district has proposed a 3.4 percent step increase for teachers and a 4.5 percent step increase for support staff.

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