Bargaining expert weighs in on reaching deal with lawmakers to avoid walkout

Bargaining expert weighs in on reaching deal with lawmakers to avoid walkout

With the teacher walkout deadline approaching, avoiding a political collision is going to take a navigator with quite a bit of experience.

The Executive Director of Technology and Communications for the Bartlesville school district spoke Monday night during their board meeting and discussed strategy.

"I served on the bargaining team for 18 years," said Granger Meador.

On Monday night, Meador introduced Bartlesville's plan of compromise called, "The Time is Now."

"Both sides cannot dig in their heels and say it's this or nothing, cause then everyone loses," Meador said, and to de-escalate tension, he reminded teachers that previous pay raise legislation has almost passed.

"What I tell teachers is, 'Remember, most of the legislature is with us.' We came close in one of the earlier grand bargains. We were only five votes shy of at least a $3,000 teacher raise," Meador said.

Meador, then, compiled data on how lawmakers recently voted on legislation for teacher pay raises. "We have a group of legislators who voted 'Yes' on one grand bargain, but then 'No' on another, so we know they sometimes are willing to make a big bargain, so we need to convince all of them. Then we have others that flipped the other way," he said.

We contacted the offices of those 17 lawmakers and asked, "Are you committed to reaching a deal by April 1 to avoid a walkout?" Seven replied 'yes,' one was too vague to know, and we didn't hear back from the others.

"We can figure out how to solve this problem. The problem is just getting these bad feelings behind us and talking to each other," said Meador.

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