MAHONING COUNTY Negotiations break down between union, MRDD

YOUNGSTOWN -- Contract talks between the Mahoning Education Association of Developmental Disabilities and the county Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities have broken down.
The MEADD has asked for help from a federal mediator.
Mary Jo Nagy, MEADD communications committee chairwoman, said there have been nine bargaining sessions since June 15, and there has been no progress on major items. She said the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is expected to appoint a mediator within 10 days.
MEADD wants to reach an agreement before the contract expires Aug. 31, Nagy said.
She added, however, "The board's negotiators have been unreasonable in their demands. We are hopeful that a federal mediator can assist in reaching a fair agreement."
Larry Duck, MRDD superintendent, was not available to comment this morning.
Crisis committee formed
Nagy said the union has created a crisis committee to look at the bargaining situation and to communicate with members and the community.
While the parties are prohibited by state law from discussing issues publicly, Nagy said the MRDD board's negotiating team "has not made the movement we anticipated at the bargaining table. We will do everything we can to reach a fair settlement, but we expect to have a difficult time."
All that MEADD members want is a fair contract that recognizes their dedicated work with MRDD's special consumers and pupils, she added.
MEADD has about 185 members, and represents the professional staff at the Leonard Kirtz School and MRDD workshops, plus secretaries.
Previously, Duck said the MRDD board also is in negotiations with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1143, which represents about 85 custodians, bus drivers, bus aides, mechanics and cooks. The AFSCME contract also expires Aug. 31.

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