Judge or­ders both sides to hold more bar­gain­ing ses­sions

The Advance of Bucks County - - NEWTOWN AREA - By D.E. Sch­lat­ter

1E6HA0,1Y - BuFNs County gudge Robert Baldi has or­dered the Neshaminy 6FhRRO BRDrG DnG WHDFhHrs union to hold more con­tract talks and to speed things up to end the la­bor dis­pute which is now en­ter­ing its fiIWh yHDr.

At an Aug. 14 court hear­ing, the judge or­dered both sides to sub­mit an ac­cel­er­ated bar­gain­ing ses­sion be­fore leav­ing the Doylestown court­house.

In ad­di­tion to the pre­vi­ously sched­uled four dates: AuJ. 16, 29, 30 DnG 6HpW. 6; gudge Baldi added six ses­siRns: 6HpW. 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27.

The court also stip­u­lated that the up­com­ing ses­sions not be can­celed for any rea­son.

But gudge Baldi de­clined the Neshaminy ced­er­a­tion of Teacher’s re­quest that all the fu­ture ses­sions be court su­per­vised.

De­spite the de­nial of man­dated su­per­vi­sion, union prHsiGHnW /RuisH BRyG sDiG in a state­ment that the NcT “was pleased to have 10 court-re­quired ses­sions.”

At the end of Tues­day’s pro­ceed­ings, gudge Baldi re­minded both sides that the WhHy FDn sWiOO rH-fiOH pHWiWiRns for court su­per­vi­sion if the 10 bar­gain­ing ses­sions do not re­solve the dis­pute.

At is­sue in sched­ul­ing the con­tract talks was the union’s re­quest for ear­lier start times, which are usu­ally sched­uled for 6 p.m., and for week­end ses­sions.

6FhRRO BRDrG PrHsiGHnW Ritchie Webb re­peat­edly has said that board mem­bers did not want to par­tic­i­pate in such pro­tracted ne­go­ti­a­tions be­cause they were all vol­un­teers who had full-time jobs.

The school has said that it would meet with the NcT re­gard­less of whether a me­di­a­tor was present.

The ap­par­ent lack of pro­duc­tive con­tract talks has both sides is­su­ing ac­ri­moni- ous re­marks.

,n Dn AuJ. 9 sWDWHPHnW, WhH NcT la­beled that evening’s talks a “an­other wasted night” for its ne­go­ti­at­ing team. The union stated that it re­minded the school board that any money saved by not pay­ing wage in­creases over the past four years is a dis­trict wind­fall on the backs of the hard-work­ing union mem­bers who have earned it.

And in a school dis­trict bORJ pRsWinJ AuJ. 3, BRDrG Pres­i­dent Webb chas­tised the union for not ne­go­ti­at­ing in good faith to achieve “an af­ford­able, sus­tain­able con­tract.”

“We are try­ing to pre­serve, if not im­prove our ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams,” Webb wrote. “The NcT’s con­tract de­mands will dec­i­mate them.”

De­spite the ad­di­tional sched­uled talks, the 633-PHPbHr uniRn sWiOO hDs the right to walk the picket lines. The last walk­out was for six days in gune, the sec­ond strike in less than six months.

The NcT’s re­turn was prompted by the state ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment re­ceiv­ing a court in­junc­tion or­der­ing the union to be back at work on gune 15 so that the dis­trict could com­plete the re­quired 180-day school year by the end of the month.

The union also par­tic­i­pated in an eight-day strike last gan­uary.

The lat­est im­passe in­volves a state-ap­point ar­bi­tra­tor’s non-bind­ing rec­om­men­da­tions re­leased in May and over­whelm­ingly ac­cepted, with rec­om­men­da­tions, by the union’s lead­ers and rDnN-DnG-fiOH.

How­ever, the school board unan­i­mously had re­jected PRsW RI WhH finGinJs wiWh WhH main con­tention be­ing back pay. Twelve of the ar­bi­tra­tor’s rec­om­men­da­tions were ac­cepted by the board, and were pre­sented to the union in this lat­est next round of con­tract talks.

Webb re­peat­edly has said that the rec­om­men­da­tion of back pay alone would cost GisWriFW PRrH WhDn $9-PiOOiRn. 6R IDr, WhH sFhRRO bRDrG has de­clined to of­fer any missed pay in­creases.

Teach­ers have not had a salary hike since the con­tract Hx­pirHG -unH 30, 2007, buW have re­ceived free med­i­cal in­sur­ance un­der the terms of the old pact.

The ar­bi­tra­tor also rec­om­mended salary in­creases. While there would not be Dny IRr 2008, 2009 DnG 2010, the re­port sug­gested that teach­ers should re­ceive a one-per­cent in­crease retroac­tive to guly 2011, 1.5-per­cent guly 2012, two-per­cent in -uOy 2013 DnG 2.25-pHr­cent as of guly 2014.

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