Sunday, August 23, 2009

Talks at a standstill

Here is the Courier Times' take on what I reported earlier this week . . .

The teachers union hasn't revealed its contract offer, but the school board says the union refuses to pay anything toward health care premiums.

After a second meeting following several months of silence, there is still no progress being made in negotiations between the Neshaminy school board and teachers union, officials said.

Both sides met in the middle of last week with a newly appointed state mediator, but "not a whole lot happened," said board President Ritchie Webb.

Louise Boyd, president of the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers, concurred that there's "really nothing going on at all." She declined further comment.

Click here to read the rest of this Courier Times article.


Jose said...

i bet that if the teachers accepted the boards first offer for pay and benefits, the board would drop their other demands for this contract. that is the kind of concessions that are needed. there is no way the board will accept benefits less than 10% and still allow a $30 thousand retirement perk. the board has nothing to lose at this point so the teachers need to cut their losses.

JS said...

They shouldn't entertain the retirement perk at all. Just allowing to continue in medical benefits until 65 should be perk enough.

I want to point this out again. No other district in the area gives both a lump sum payment AND continues medical benefits. That is one combination that has to go (and the Board has said it will).

swelle said...

It will be interesting to see if the union president speaks at Tuesday's meeting. You know the usual crowd will be there to encourage the board to remain unyielding in their stand.

Erik said...

I wish I could understand the union's strategy. Do they think this is going to blow over? Do they think that a change of a few board members after the election will effect the negotiations? Do they not understand that tax payers won't let the board settle for something less? Do they realize if they strike that they'll lose even more support of the public?
I'm not teacher bashing here. I am honestly trying to understand what the long term strategy is here. Can someone please tell me what the union hopes to gain from this because I'm not seeing it.

Str8 Shutr said...

There is only 1 person who can answer your question because there is only 1 person charting the union's course, and that is Louise Boyd. How is it that we all know teachers, and not a single one of them isn't willing to kick into their benefits yet Ms. Boyd insists the "teachers" position is still no contribution.
I know at least a dozen teachers and every one of them is anxious to get this settled. I don't understand why that message hasn't filtered its way up to Boyd yet? Is it that these teachers are not speaking up, or is it that Boyd isn't listening?
If there are any teachers reading this blog who are willing to talk, can you enlighten the rest of us on how you are communicating your beliefs to your union leaders?

march said...

As a teacher at another school district. I can tell you that the rank and file really don't have much say in contract negotiations. We fill out a questionnaire ranking what we consider our top priorities for negotiations and they go to the negotiation team. The negotiation team, usually 5-8 teachers, make all the decisions. If you have a decent union president, he/she will ask what are you willing to strike for and will also bring back any serious offers for the union to vote on.

Str8 Shutr said...

Thank you for clarifying that March. One word you used concerns me - "Serious" - a good union president will bring back any "serious" offers. Louise Boyd doesn't regard any offer involving benefits payments as "serious" so the rank and file won't see or hear about those offers until after she has already rejected them.

srodos said...

If both sides are exactly where they were on May 1,
2008 someone should explain to the public how this is construed as negotiating in good faith.

Str8 Shutr said...

The real explanation the public deserves is where was the good faith negotiation for the past 2 contracts?
If the board has determined the district cannot afford a more generous offer, then they are going in with their best offer and that is fair.
Where do you think the board should make concessions srodos?

Larry said...

Again most of the comments here show a lack of understanding of how to successfully negotiate. Not a knock on people here just coming from one who has done it for life on much bigger deals than this one. The board has shown itself to be very adroit and has dispayed incredible "good faith" at the same timw. Not easy. The offer on the table from board is a WIN WIN and the only people who do not see is is Union and memebers. Odd really.
I am actually very impressed with how well the board has done in positioning the taxpayers and students so well as it relates to a single minded self absorbed union leader-Boyd. It is quite stunning in fact relative to just about any other district contract negotiation. Really, it could be a case study based on what a great strategic offer they board made and then how they won the community. The Union HQs team has to be wondering how Boyd got them in such a negative position in this. Tip of the Hat to William and his peers on a quality class act to date from the board. Keep up the great work.

srodos said...

Items 7,8,10 and 11 are proposals by the union which
will benefit the students. These could be accomplished by reducing amounts spent on transportation and outside professional expenses.
These proposals may be accomplished without any increase in the budget.
The proposals themselves appear on the school board website. They pertain to technology in the elementary school, kindergarten, class size and case load limits for professionals

Str8 Shutr said...

These may be good ideas (depending on your opinion) but they should not be part of a labor agreement. The board should not be negotiating these items with the teachers to begin with.