Judge orders both sides to hold more bargaining sessions
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.