Thursday, August 20, 2009

No end in sight

The following are excerpts from an update posted on the Neshaminy Contract Negotiation blog:

The Board and Neshaminy Federation of Teachers (NFT) met at a negotiating session on Aug 19, 2009 with a newly appointed State mediator. No progress was made on any outstanding issues.

Already one of the highest paid staffs in the entire State, the Union’s proposal would raise the average salary from under $80,000 to over $93,000. Over three years, the estimated salary difference in the two proposals is well over $16 million.

After accounting for existing retirees, the difference in health care costs to the District between the two proposals is about $4 million this year and expected to grow.

No further talks are scheduled at this time.
To read the entire update, visit the Neshaminy Contract Negotiation blog.


abc123 said...

Once again you waste valuable cyber space with your meaningless propaganda Mr. Goebbels. If your board was half as good at negotiating with the NFT as it is with show boating to the public we would have a new contract by now. The union sticks to its proposal and is considered unreasonable. The board sticks to its guns and is called strong, heroic. What's the difference? These aren't negotiations. They are a joke being perpetrated by the school board.

Shame on you!

Libertae said...

Seems like there's plenty of blame to go around; can anyone give me an example of either side offering some sort of concession to the other? After all of this time, I still feel that there have been no meaningful negotiations to date.

William O'Connor said...

I was going to delete your comment abc123, but then thought everyone else might enjoy sharing in your sunny disposition.

A nazi propanda minister reference . . . really?!

Regarding the Board's and NFT's offers, you asked "what's the difference?" My answer: $16 million

For someone who claims to hate this blog, you sure to stop by an awful lot.

srodos said...

abc123 you are over the line. I find all references to Nazi's very offensive. Whether the reference is made in regard to teacher contracts or in discussions regarding health care reform with duly elected representatives the remarks show no respect to over ten million people, men , women and children be they Jewish,Gypsy,Polish or Russian and all other nationalities who perished at the hands of Hitler and the Nazis. You are lucky to live in democracy which allows you to spew your trash-talk in such a disrespectful manner.

William O'Connor said...

Libertae, If you follow the link to the Negotiation blog, there is a summary of the Board's proposals on the right side.

Teacher said...

That comment was completely uncalled for. As if the tension between teachers and the board isn't bad enough, you go and say something to make it 100 times worse.

JS said...

I could agree that the fact that the District has not moved much from it's original offer appears that they haven't negotiated, if not for one thing. They say (and I believe them) that this is an offer that they feel is both fair to the teachers (as compared to other districts) and to tax payers (as it would not unduly burden them with tax increases).

So unlike a normal negotiation where both parties aim high and then come together, the Board chose to go with a "Best Offer" mentality. This is as high as we're going to go, yea o nay.

Well the teachers obviously say nay.

I agree with everyone else, that regardless of your views, comparing this to anything paralleling the Nazis is both far fetched and ludicrous.

Now on to more pressing issues. It appears there may be some pressure inside the NFT to go out for a short strike (1 week or so) to quiet the rumors that some teachers are starting to get annoyed with union leaders.

If that's true, the teachers are putting a whole lot of eggs in one basket. They are risking exploding ANY public sympathy they have just to have a show of solidarity (which might not be real solidarity if the public finds out only say 60% of the teachers voted to strike, purely a guess, have no idea if they've even voted).

Should be an interesting first week of school if this is the case.

Susan P said...

Twenty-nine years ago, just about this time, our district was faced with the similar circumstance of an outdated teacher’s contract requiring a negotiation. Then, as now, salaries and benefits were hot button issues. Sadly, the breakdown in negotiations resulted in what became the longest teacher strike in Pennsylvania history. The teacher’s union president in 1980, George Schaubut, kept holding out for a better deal. Union members sported lapel buttons that read “DIGNITY” because they would accept a contract nothing short of dignified. In the end, it was a losing situation for teachers and taxpayers alike, but particularly for the students.

From high school senior then, to taxpaying resident now, I have been hoping that teachers would be able to recognize the difference in our economic times – after all, you too, are taxpayers. No one disputes that your working conditions have been dramatically impacted in the past 3 decades and at times you’ve had to do more with less. We understand that no one wants to “work for free”.

I’ve worked in large corporations and small companies since graduating college in 1986 and given my personal experience, I can assure you that I didn’t WANT a freeze in increases, I didn’t WANT a reduction in benefits, I didn’t WANT to effectively do more work for less money.

Whether employed in education or private industry, we all have a bottom line. As citizens employed in private industry, however, we’ve all done what we had to do. We have lived with a freeze in salaries, with reductions or rising co-pays in insurance, and we’ve often worked longer hours.

Current NFT President Louise Boyd may feel she is representing the best interests of all union members by playing a waiting game to see where contract talks end in neighboring districts. In the meantime, our district and the students will suffer. Waiting and failing to set new negotiation sessions is the equivalent to leaving your windows open in the dead of winter: who among us has money to burn?

I remember vividly returning to school following the 1980 teacher strike. All was not wine and roses. Teachers and students were both battle weary. All anyone wanted to do was get to the 30th of June and try to forget the unpleasantness of the previous fall and winter. While existing legislation does prevent a strike of such magnitude, it cannot prevent casualties of war.

Teachers – we want to believe you have the best interests of our students at heart, as we’re trusting you with their education day in and day out. If this is truly the case, I implore you to petition Ms. Boyd and accept the district’s latest, best offer.

Please don’t look to the future at the expense of our children and their well-being: there will be no winners.

William O'Connor said...

The following comment from ACS was edited for content

ABC123 should be banned. Now
anyone who thinks the board should budge one inch does not understand how to negotiate. The NFT is weakened and has lost any leverage. You all do not realize it is over and there will be no contract until the NFT accepts the board offer and that will be years. Boyd will be forced out by memebers in next few months. She has compeltely blown the NFT negotiations.

acs said...

Again Susan P. NSD teachers are among the highest compensated in the state right NOW with no further increases. They would be for many years to come with no new contract. They still demand taxpayers for a lot more and they refuse to pay for health care costs. These are unreasonable and frankly incompetent negotiating positions by any measure. The board has a much richer offer on the table than most other district and certainly than anyone is the private sector is getting. Mr. Webb et al must hold firm and let Boyd swing in wind for as long as it takes.
Teachers are behind this so if they are so altruistic let them remove their poor representation and settle for the board offer. There will be nothing more of them.
Just becase someone is a teacher does not mean they are righteous. Remember pigs get fat hogs get slaughtered.

Gabriel said...

That's a might compassionate plea from Susan. I sure hope the teachers are reading. If you can get your leadership to make these concessions, public support for you will sky rocket. We really do appreciate what you do for the students but we need your help on bringing our budget back down to earth. Good luck.

4thekidz said...

Like Susan, I also was a student during the 1980 strike. Now I am a taxpaying resident with 2 children in the Nesh school system. I have nothing but kudos for all the teachers and staff that I have encountered at both the elem and middle school level.
I was an 8th grader in 1980. I remember the names and ugly insults, and threats that were thrown around, especially at the teachers who 'DARED' to help students during the 13 week strike. The students, particularly the Jrs and Srs, missed critical 1st and 2nd quarter marking periods.

Even after the strike was settled my parents were so frightened that the teachers would strike again 4 yrs later(MY senior year) they choose to have me attended a different high school.
The fallout from the venom and hatred spewed throughout was very damaging and shook the confidence of parents and students about who and what the teachers actually stood for.
I don't want to see that happen again. Neshaminy is a great place to educate our kids.
It took a long time to mend those fences-9 yrs in our family until one of us attended and then graduated from NHS-
History doesn't have to repeat itself.

Newbie said...

What a hideous insult by abc123. The people on this site treat each other with respect just as Mr. O'Connor does. There is no place for that kind of ignorance here or any place else.
Susan and 4thekidz have shared some very good reasons why a strike must be avoided at all costs. It's true that both sides have to give in but the teachers really must make the most concessions because of their strong victories in previous negotiations.

platypus said...

Is abc123 a teacher I wonder. If their method reflects what is happening in the negotiation meetings then it shows what the board is up against. I know it must not be easy for teachers to have the public against them but you put yourselves in this position. Just as Newbie said you won tremendous victories the last two negotiations. The current board is only negotiating for things the previous boards should have gotten back then. Look at it this way - you got more than you probably should have for the past 9 or 10 years. Now its time for the board and tax payers to get a significant win. It all balances out in the end.

acs said...

A strike at this time would be such a huge mistake for the teachers given the strong negative sentiment that has built up in the community toward them due to the position they are taking in the worst economy in 70 years and after they have taken advantage of taxpayers in the last 2 conracts.
Let's face it, 30 years ago teacher's pay was not in parity to other professionals and the inequity needed to be resolved. Fast forward to 2009 and a time when the world is completely reversed. Professional public workers are now in many cases, like teachers, more highly compensated and have much more lucrative health and retirement packages on top of that that far exceed private workers. Much has changed since teachers got pay parity years ago. Now, as in the case of so many unions i.e. manufacturing, auto, electronics, steel, the NFT like many public worker unions has gone way too far. Now taxpayers i.e. the rest of the world, have lost their 401k, defined benefit plans, free healthcare, wage increases and in many cases had to take pay cuts or lost their job altogether. Now they can ill afford to prop up public workers and their Union thugs any longer. Now any union demand above the current generous board offer is so outrageously greedy it truly is obscene to any sensible NSD resident. This is why a strike would be quite a dangerous and negligent course for the Union leadership to take the teachers down. I believe Mr. Webb when he tells the Union and the BCCT that this offer it the best the teachers will get. There is no reson to comprimise since the board gave away the store in 1998 and 2003. That is responsible leadership on behalf of taxpayers, students and union employees as well. Only it still seems union employees continue to live in LaLa land on the "GOOD SHIP LOLLIPOP :)" as that great board mamaber once said!!