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Unalaska's Teachers Union Proposes Public Negotiations For Next Contract

Laura Kraegel

Unalaska's teachers union is reporting a sense of anxiety as instructors prepare to negotiate their next contract.

President David Gibson addressed the school board last week on behalf of the Unalaska Education Association.

"Due to things that have happened in past negotiations, the association is approaching this round of negotiations with a bit of trepidation," said Gibson. "We're preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best."

He didn't specify the union's problems with recent negotiations, which have taken place behind closed doors. But a 2015 contract did reduce teachers' annual pay raises due to a decline in district funding.

This time, Gibson said the union wants to hash out its contract in public.

"If it's truly a collaborative process, it shouldn't matter who sees it in action," he said. "We're hopeful this will allow all parties involved the ability to see how we've come to agreements and get rid of the feeling of secrecy."

Carlos Tayag was the only board member to respond publicly to Gibson's remarks. He said he supports the work of unions and looks forward to the upcoming negotiations.  

"I think the idea should be working in conjunction and collaboration to come up with what's best for everyone," said Tayag. "In this case, for our students, for our teachers, and for the future of education in Unalaska."

Following the public meeting, board members held an executive session with Superintendent John Conwell to discuss negotiations further. They announced no decisions after the closed-door talk.

The school board's next monthly meeting is Dec. 13 — a week earlier than usual to avoid conflicts with holiday travel.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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