MAHONING MRDD Mediator enters pact talks

No talks are scheduled over the weekend.
AUSTINTOWN -- On Thursday, a federal mediator joined negotiations between the Mahoning County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities and its professional staff in an effort to avert a strike at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.
The 185-member professional staff at the Leonard Kirtz School and MRDD workshops, plus secretaries, is represented by the Mahoning Education Association of Developmental Disabilities union, issued a strike notice last week. MEADD is affiliated with the Ohio Education and National Education associations.
Since then, the two sides negotiated for several hours Monday and Wednesday before the mediator, Thomas Connelly of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, joined the talks Thursday.
Larry Duck, MRDD superintendent, would not characterize the talks with MEADD except to say he thought Thursday was a "productive day" with both unions.
The MRDD board also is negotiating with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union, Local 1143, which represents about 85 custodians, bus drivers, bus aides, mechanics and cooks. Talks were scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today with AFSCME, whose contract also expires Aug. 31.
Duck said the next negotiating session with MEADD and the federal mediator is at 10:30 a.m. Monday, with no talks scheduled over the weekend.
The MRDD bargaining teams are led by Sandy Conley of the law firm of Clemans-Nelson.

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