Mat-Su Education Association votes to go on strike

FastCast digital headlines for Monday, May 22, 2022.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 4:49 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Mat-Su Education Association has voted to go on strike. This comes after more than 90% of certificated employees voted “yes” to approve the strike.

According to NEA-Alaska, a union consisting of more than 12,000 public education employees, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District offered a “last best offer” to the association instead of continuing to bargain on contracts to reach an agreement.

Among the disagreements, NEA-Alaska says educators are upset that the district is insisting they switch their health insurance provider over to Premera Blue Cross instead of allowing them to stay with an Alaska-based health insurance provider.

“This vote clearly shows that Mat-Su educators are united in their opposition to what the District has imposed,” said Vicki Hewitt, president of MSEA. “Our goal for over a year has been to find common ground with the District and reach a settlement that moves our schools in a positive direction.”

If a settlement is not reached, MSEA will strike sometime in the fall of 2023.

The MSBSD released the following statement on Monday following the vote:

“MSEA’s vote was anticipated and does not change the District’s interest in continued negotiations towards a mutually agreeable settlement. The District has tried its utmost to achieve an agreed upon CBA which includes the engagement of a transparent and accountable health insurance provider. The District remains committed and willing to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with MSEA and remains open to scheduling discussions.”