Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Still no agreement in talks

According to this morning's Courier Times . . . While bargaining continues, there is no new update in the Neshaminy teachers' contract talks, which remain centered on health care costs, officials reported this week.

(Louise) Boyd previously said that health care was the only topic that the board was willing to discuss. (Rich) Webb responded that insurance is important because “there is no money in the budget. Without some concessions, there will be no way to fund other changes ... like salary.”

You can read the entire article by clicking here.

If you want to visit the district's contract negotiations website, click here.

Any community questions or comments about negotiations can be directed to Board Member Rich Webb:


KClarinet said...

I think the board and the NFT should continue to negotiate confidentially. As soon as public statements begin to appear, they always become tainted with spin (on both sides) and the posturing just compounds the actual problems. I think Rich Webb, Louise Boyd and anyone else close to the negotiations who is asked about them should simply respond No Comment - adding perhaps that there is no agreement yet. Anyone not close to the negotiations should answer any questions about them with a simple shrug. Sooner or later the NFT leadership will have to report to its membership on progress or its lack, but for the sake of affording maximal flexibility to everyone involved, coverage in the news media should be limited to saying whether or not there are negotiations going on and whether or not an agreement has been reached.

platypus said...

No way should these negotiations be completely secret. Last time they did that, they came away with a large multi-year agreement with good pay increases but no give backs from the teachers. We are still paying for that deal today. It should concern all taxpayers that our current board president Rick Eccles sat on that negotiation committee and is on this one too. I realize you cannot conduct the negotiations in public but we need a little more light shed on them before taxpayers get screwed again.

LivininLevittown said...

Before any agreement is made, the school board should have to present their final offer to the public for comment.

KClarinet said...

Well, they have to vote on it at a public meeting. But to be honest, there's no way short of putting the contract up for a referendum vote at the next election, to get opinions from any more than a handful of taxpayers who may or may not represent the majority of voters. The School Board members are elected in part to carry out these negotiations when they come up, and the only way to hold them accountable for what is finally agreed to is with the vote at the next election.

The negotiations will never be "secret" - the Board (or, rather, the District) has a page on its website about the negotiations, and the NFT distributes its own information to its membership, some of which is bound to become public (there are no secrets among 500+ people). I guess my main concern, given the obvious bias (it's been pointed out repeatedly in this blog space) of the Courier, is that any comments its reporters elicit from representatives on either side of the process and bring back will be filtered and, I am afraid, distorted by the editorial board to the School Board's advantage, regardless of the actual state of things in the negotiating room.
A headline saying "Teachers Demand 9% Pay Raise" (I've made up the number - I have no inside information) will probably produce a different public reaction from the equivalent "Teachers Ask 1.5%Annual Pay Raise For 6 Years."

JS said...

I know this topic is a little dated now, but it seems the appropriate place to comment.

St. Mary Medical Center, a large successful hospital just informed their employees that BC/BS Personal Choice will no longer be offered. The cost went up 30% for this year alone and had become to substantial to continue to be a plan option.

This past year a couple on the Personal Choice plan paid $206 a paycheck($5300) in premiums. This was approximately 33% of total premium (the rest paid by St. Mary's) which would total about $16,000. An increase of 30% puts that total cost at over $20k per couple.

If that is even remotely what the district is paying for current employee medical benefits (Teachers/Administrators/Support Staff) then it needs to re-evaluate the offering of Personal Choice as the medical plan.