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Living history: Teachers walk out of negotiation meeting

30 years ago

Excerpts from the Oct. 8, 1987 Pioneer Journal

• Teachers walk out of negotiation meetings

Wadena Federation of Teachers negotiator Greg Burns led the negotiation team from the boardroom Tuesday night after hearing counter proposals from the board.

The Tuesday afternoon meeting was the third round of negotiations with the teacher union and the district. The groups originally set the third meeting as deadline for new proposals and both groups exercised their options during the 2.5 hour meeting.

The teacher's union proposals included articles dealing with part time teachers, a change in Homebound teacher compensation and an amended severance pay proposal.

The teachers asked the board to adopt a policy for part time employees which would full time seniority and increment advancement if a teacher works over 50 percent but less than 100 percent.

Their proposals also said if a teacher works less than 50 percent, then all salaries, benefits and seniority should be prorated.

The Homebound Teacher proposals wanted the salary rate changed from $7.70 per hour to 1/1080 of the teacher's current wage rate.

Their final proposal said the amount of severance pay shall be the mathematical product product obtained by multiplying 75 percent of the teacher's unused sick leave days.

Their original proposal asked for 100 percent of the teacher's sick leave days.

The teacher's union also came down slightly in their salary demands by asking for a $7,5000 increase in all members compensation during the next two years.

Their original salary demands averaged around 27 percent with new raises now averaging around 25 percent.

When the board returned they had additional counter proposals which included a rejection of the part time compensation plan; rejection of the union argument for more compensation when additional classes are added; rejection of the grandchildren clause in the teacher's sick leave policy; a cap on the amount the district would pay for single insurance coverage; rejection in changes in the personal leave language in the current contract, elimination of sabbatical leave policy; and rejection of early retirement changes in the current contract.

After a short caucus with other negotiating team members, Burns returned and rejected all board counter proposals and said there would be no movement on the salary question.

Burns stormed from the room with all his negotiating team following with no indication his group will meet with the Board on Oct. 22.

65 years ago

Excerpts from the Oct. 2, 1952 Pioneer Journal

• Wadena has two new polio cases during week

Two Wadena youngsters are the latest polio patients in Wadena County.

Saturday, Sandra Bjerke, six, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russ Bjerke, came down with the disease. She was taken to University hospital Saturday afternoon and placed in the critical ward with the bulbar type. Wednesday morning Mr. and Mrs. Bjerke were informed their daughter was still on the serious list but had been taken from the critical list and Tuesday night was removed to a convalescing ward.

While there is throat paralysis, she has been able to take nourishment through a straw and hasn't had intravenous feeding. As far as the family knows, the case is mild.

Tuesday afternoon, Kathy Merickel, three, daughter or Mr. and Mrs. Tom Merickel, was taken to Wesley hospital where she is confined as a polio patient. Up to Wednesday noon, the little girl was still running a fever. Kathy has not shown any signs of paralysis.

• Lawn mowers off list of playthings for Dickie

Dickie Merickel, three, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Merickel, has lost his love for a lawn mower, as of Tuesday afternoon. Playing in the yard with neighbor children shortly before noon Tuesday, the youngsters were playing with a lawn mower when in some manner Dickie got the tip of his middle finger of his left hand in the machine.

He was taken to a physician who put six stitches in the finger to close the wound.

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