Dal­las con­tract talks go nowhere

Teach­ers union leader ac­cuses school district of ‘fail­ure to bar­gain.’

The Citizens' Voice - - Front Page - BY MICHAEL P. BUF­FER Staff writer Con­tact the writer: mbuffer@cit­i­zensvoice.com 570-821-2073, @cvmike­buffer

The union that rep­re­sents Dal­las School District teach­ers plans to file a com­plaint al­leg­ing an un­fair la­bor prac­tice and is still planning a strike on Nov. 22, union Pres­i­dent Michael Cherinka Jr. said af­ter an un­pro­duc­tive ne­go­ti­a­tion ses­sion Tues­day.

Cherika is­sued a news re­lease ac­cus­ing the district of “fail­ure to bar­gain.” The union on Tues­day also pre­sented a counter pro­posal to the district’s Oct. 30 of­fer. Board mem­ber Jim Gat­tuso said the lat­est union pro­posal was a big step back.

“It was very frus­trat­ing,” Gat­tuso said. “It’s crazy. I don’t get it.”

The district on Oct. 30 pro­posed a five-year agree­ment, which would cover 2015-16 and 2016-17 but not in­clude retroac­tive pay in­creases for those years. The av­er­age salary for union mem­bers would in­crease from $62,392 last year to $73,840 this year, $76,207 in 2018-19 and $78,567 in 2019-20, ac­cord­ing to the district of­fer.

Dal­las teach­ers have been work­ing with­out a la­bor deal from more than two years. Teach­ers went on strike in 2016 from Nov. 14 to Dec. 19 and again this year from Sept. 22 to Oct. 3.

The union de­manded retroac­tive pay in­creases that would cost $900,000 in retroac­tive pay for 201516 and 2016-17 and more than $1.5 mil­lion for the next three years, Gat­tuso said. The union also ob­jected to a district pro­posal that re­quired teach­ers pay a premium con­tri­bu­tion for more com­pre­hen­sive health ben­e­fits and a district pro­posal to cut the amount paid as an early-re­tire­ment in­cen­tive, Gat­tuso said.

The district ac­cused the union’s bar­gain­ing team “of ne­go­ti­at­ing for them­selves,” Cherinka said, not­ing the team is made up of 12 peo­ple with years of ser­vice that ranges from seven to 38. The union, the Dal­las Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, rep­re­sents more than 170 teach­ers and other pro­fes­sion­als, in­clud­ing guid­ance coun­selors.


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