Friday, November 6, 2009

Little movement in Support Staff talks

Representatives from the district's negotiation team and NESPA recently met for further discussions of a new contract. Although there was some movement, both sides remain very far apart in the key issues. Here is a summary of the major points:

Contract Length and Outsourcing
The Board proposal: 3-year contract with an agreement not to outsource any work for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 contract years.

The NESPA proposal: 5-year contract with no change to the language regarding third-party contracting.

Wages
The Board proposal: To offset increased health care costs, a reduced year 1 increase of 1%, followed by raises of 3% in each of the second and third years.

The NESPA proposal: Year 1 = 0% increase, years 2-4 = 3.5% each, year 5 = 4%

Medical Benefit Contributions
The Board proposal: A reduced-cost medical plan with monthly contributions of 10%, 11%, 12% over three years.

The NESPA proposal: Maintain its top-tier insurance coverage with monthly contributions of 0%, 2%, 3%, 4%, 5% over five years.

Retiree Benefits
Under the expired contract, eligible retirees and their spouses receive full medical, drug, dental and vision coverage until age 65 with no premium contributions.

The Board proposes to eliminate these retirement benefits, to be replaced with a provision allowing all eligible retirees to remain in the group medical plan at District cost. The Union opposes any changes to retiree benefits (except that retirees will be placed into the same base medical plan as active employees).

Sick Days
The Board proposes that sick days should no longer count as time worked for the purpose of calculating overtime. The Union opposes this proposal.

Posted on the district's negotiation website is a more detailed summary of these issues along with several statements including, "the Union's refusal to adequately address the above issues, related primarily to benefits for full-time workers, leaves us little choice but to continue to consider contracting with third parties as a partial solution to the financial challenges we face."

You can get further detail on both the Board and NESPA offers by clicking here.
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94 comments:

Str8 Shutr said...

There it is csld in black and white. Your union isn't thinking about the majority of you who don't hold benefits. They are willing to risk YOU losing YOUR JOB to outsourcing so that the privileged few with benefits can keep them.
I'm curious if Mrs. Anderson told you about this latest offer, or are you still being kept in the dark? It can't feel very good to have to keep learning about what's going on by reading updates on a school board members blog. But when Mrs. Anderson wants you to picket outside of a school board meeting, she has no problem contacting you then, does she?

scrubb said...

Sick days count towards overtime? Are you kidding me????????

Meanwhile back in the real world, unemployment has just hit 10%. Earlier this week my boss told me I would get no raise this year and all employees are losing two paid holidays next year. On the positive side, he thinks the worst is over for my company and does not expect any further cutbacks or layoffs.

Now back to Neshaminy Land where workers demand big raises, free benefits, and sick time that counts towards OT.

Outsource the whole lot of them!

Jake said...

I don't know if the NFT and NESPA have been paying attention but the residents just voted in school board members whose only qualification was they would militantly oppose any increases to teachers salaries and benefits. These candidates couldn't even bother coming to a school board meeting. They just relied on taxpayer revolt and they won. They won't care about education, they won't care about technology, they won't care about students. And they certainly won't care about the unions.

Never mind filling out any more petitions. Sorry to say the next form you fill out will be an application for unemployment.

Gabriel said...

While I agree with the current board's position and encourage the public to support the board, I am discouraged by the growing nastiness and disrespect from the public. Even if you strongly disagree with the teachers' and support staff's demands you can still show some level of civility. Our teachers must maintain respect in the classroom and it can't be good for our students to hear and read many of the commnets being flung back and forth.
I would also like to see teachers stop wearing their union shirts and buttons in the schools. Our students deserve an atmoshphere free of this controversy.
It doesn't seem like too many people on either side are very concerned about what message this is all sending to our children.

JS said...

I personally think that there are some things to think about concerning the Support Staff negotiations.

First of all, let me say I do not think that they should get things for free or they should get anything above a 3% raise (if that).

Now people talk about the fact that the NFT should just take the contract (the same offered to the NFT and signed by the Administrators and Administrative Secretaries). Let's look at a few things. Most people in this category make AT THE MOST about $40,000 and those are usually employees with 20+ years of employment and/or those that work numerous other adjuncts to their normal hours (i.e. security, ticket takers, etc.) Even if we take that high number of $40,000 let's use it to look how this contract affects them.

I'm guessing (based on what rates for BCBS personal choice is for other companies) that a family of 3 would cost about $10,000 in premiums. 15,16, and 17% of that amount are $1,500/$1,600/$1,700 dollars. A 1% raise on $40,000 would be $40,400. That means the first year an employee would make $1,100 less than currently(again most figures seem to show premiums are higher than $10k, so if you change it to $14k they take a $1,700 pay cut). If you take someone who earns $30,000 with a 1% raise you get $30,300. That would mean they take a $1,200 reduction ($1,800 if you assume $14k in premiums).

If you then factor in the 3% raises then in the 2nd year salaries would be $41,612 and $31,209. The top person finally would get a $12 raise over their current salary, and the second would be still $400 their current salary. Both of these people after 2 years now have no guarantee that they will have their job for the 3rd (District's proposed outsourcing waiting time). So they've essentially gone 2 years with no raise (some with significant pay cuts if they have a 4 person family).

I'm not agreeing with the Support Staff proposal, but don't think that the proposal from the District is a sweet deal.

Maybe Mr. O'Connor can answer this, but were the Administrators and/or Administrative Secretaries given only a 1% raise for the first year of the contract they just signed? I thought they got 3%. Why make the Support Staff (who make far less money) take less of a raise when them paying contributions impacts their pay more than those making double, even triple, what they do.

I agree with the other perks being taken out (same as the other contracts). Also I never knew they could be paid over time if they had a sick day that week. Most federal/state laws require you to actually work 40 hours before overtime kicks in.

Just some food for thought. The Support Staff issues aren't the same as for the teachers. Far different pay scales.

acs said...

Mr. O'Conner, Can someone make the NESPA salary info public like was done for NFT. I heard there are vus drivers and custodians making $60-80K for 9 months work. By the way how many hours a day does a bus driver work??
I am sorry but I think the district with outside 5 year contracts could save millions of dollars. Have you recieved bids yet?

acs said...

Gabriel, I completely agree on the respect issue and I lay the blame for the rapidly building loss of respect for teachers at the feet of Boyd and the NFT. They have taken actions since day one to agitate, irritate and offend residents and parents at back to school night. It is ashamed the NFT is airing this in public and now incurring the wrath of the public. Look what happened Tuesday. I bet tons of back to school night parents came out to send the teachers a message. Shame they are destroying the respect they have built up for so many years with insulting residents with their greed to want 6 % raises and free helathcare when everyone else except them is suffering in this recession. They have a totally FREE pass on recession pain and now want to rub taxpayers face in it. Ever think of it that way Gab?

srodos said...

Jake: In my opinion you have accurately set forth the current situation after Tuesday's election. Unfortunately even the students will suffer.

csld said...

Str8 Shutr this is not surprising to me or anyone that works with me.Myself and my co-workers are aware that this is about full time employees and not about us part timers.We do not get any of these benefits and any part timer you speak to will tell you that we are just looking to save our jobs we are not looking for a pay raise although it would be nice but we realize that in these hard time we are just glad we are working.I have never picketed and I have no intention to picket and neither does any of the people I speak to have. Again myself and my co-workers in any of the different classifications are just trying to keep our jobs.I have not spoken with Mrs Anderson and I dont think I will be speaking to her anytime in the near future,she has her own agenda and believe me it does not include us part timers.Just my opinion.

Libertae said...

When do the new board members take office? Who will take Dr. Spitz' place on the negotiating team? Looks like out of the frying pan and into the fire for the unions.

Gabriel said...

Interesting point Libertae. Webb has done a great job presenting the board's offer without bending to the pressure of either the teachers or the angry taxpayers, and he has thanked Spitz publicly for his help in sifting through the numbers. This raises a question (and a concern) if the negotiations will break down even further. Spitz was level headed, which is something we don't have enough of. Hopefully Webb can appoint someone who will complement and support his style.

acs said...

Not sure I agree. There really is no negotiations ging on since union has taken a hard position on healthcare.
Tuesday was an overwhelming vote by taxpayers who are more than angry, for board to hold the line. Whether right or wrong Spitz and Blasch were not perceived as hard line on unions.
I think the union is in for a very rude awakening with the 3 new board members regardless of who joins Webb on negotiating team. I think we are in for 2-3 years without a contract unless the Union caves and that is low odds.

JS said...

I don't believe that Tuesday's election had anything to do with the negotiations. (Hopefully getting past Mr. O'Connor's editing) I believe Tuesday was more about what portion of the voting public actually voted and what party they usually vote for. Simply put.

I just think some people lost because of the title at the top of their column, not their view points on negotiations (or anything else for that matter).

nostradamus said...

Spitz was the top vote getter in the primary. Things only got better since then as the board held firm in negotiations, and the district achieved AYP. This loss had nothing to do with the teachers contract. It had nothing to do with Spitz at all.

The Republicans came out in force this election partially as anti-Obama backlash. The bigger reason had to do with the supervisors election as the Democrats took on the law, and the law won. Spitz was collateral damage.

Glad to see that ACS agrees with my earlier prediction that contract negotiations will go on for at least another 2 years. Regrettably this is one of those cases where I wish neither of us would be right.

acs said...

As you all know SB is all about 5 votes. It seemed to me that with the new additions there will be at least 5 secure votes to get the right deal for the community this time vs giving teachers and support staff a dime more. That will likely protract the NFT negotiations since the Union has no way of saving face and now has to deal with a much more adversarial board. Taxpayers are now much more engaged and this is new for the NFT.
However, I do think Spitz was beaten vs "collateral damage". His opponent was no where to be seen and was still the highest vote getter. That says there was a reaction of voters to send a message to the board. It was close in most precincts and I think a lot were driven out to vote by anti-union flyers and information about the contract from the board.
I continue to praise Mr. Webb and his board for going public. I think that this has made all the difference.

Ivy League said...

And the beat goes on....

Not only are we confusing the board's action/inaction with strength-- but now we are also congratulating them for it while pointing our fingers at the NFT saying they won't be able to save face.

You people are too much.

Not only does the beat goes on... it gets louder and more obnoxious.

Jake said...

Only since you arrived.

William O'Connor said...

Enough, gang! Trying to watch a football game without having to worry about editing comments. Stay away from insults.

If I have to get off this couch one more time, it's DSP for everyone!

N said...

Log time reader, first time writer. I am a Neshaminy Tax Payer who thinks this needs to be settled.

JS, you have it right. The Majority of support staff workers make under $50K a year.

Also, don't forget that the Administrators have a clause in their contract that says that they will get whatever deal the Teachers or support Staff get on their insurance.

William, Can you tell us how much the district currently pays for the current health care plan? for a single employee?
And what the new reduced Health care plan will cost the district?
for a single employee?

srodos said...

These are the same old arguments. The union is not required to answer back either on this blog or at a Board meeting. They seem content to stonewall the only offer ever made to them by declaring health care is not negotiable. In my view the union has made a fair offer in an effort to overcome the misguided contract which has been in existence for the last 7 years. The union feels that it must protect those members at the top of the scale. This is their right; however misguided it may be. If neither side wants to negotiate; the contract will stay as it is for the next few years or until such time as those employees interested in salary increases vote out the incumbent union representatives.
My questions are directed to anyone who can answer the following: under existing conditions does someone who retires in June 2010 get the $27000 retirement bonus? Does the District still pay for courses taken by teachers in the current year? If the current contract remains in effect can an employee still jump to another level either with more credits and/or more years of service?
Basically do just some of the provisions carry forward or all provisions carry forward?

srodos said...

My mistake. I meant to say that the Board has made a fair offer.....

JS said...

I'm sure Mr. O'Connor can speak to this better, but I'll give it a shot as well.

All of the retirement incentives stay in place until a new contract is settled. (27k, free premiums, etc) This is why older teachers will pretty much refuse to sign ANY contract because they stand to lose the most.

As for moving steps (either vertically or horizontally) I really don't know. As far as I've heard everyone is stuck where they are. Now this will become an issue concerning retro pay. I know the Board has said no retro active raises, but how does that affect Steps? For instance when the last raise happened a teacher may have been at Step 7 (i.e. 7 years) and this year would have been at Step 8. If a deal is signed for 2010 they would be at Step 9, would they just jump over step 8 or get the retro from that step only?

I am really interested to hear the answer on the step raises because they might still be going on.

William O'Connor said...

Forgive the short answer ... monster day at work.

The $27.5k retirement perk is still in place. Steps are in essence frozen. How steps are impacted after a new agreement is reached will have to be negotiated.

NSDFREE said...

I am still trying to find out what the district pays for health care. Nobody seems to know or does not want to give an answer.

William, I am sure since you are a board member and negotiating health care costs, you have this info. Can you please share?

William O'Connor said...

NSDFREE, don't have the total number off the top of my head. I believe the average cost per employee for health care coverage was in the $1600-$1800 per month range.

NSDFREE said...

Thanks William. I assume that was for the PC15 plan. How much does the new PC 20/30/70 plan cost?

Levittowner said...

Off topic a bit..but I was annoyed to see my son's kindergarten school picture when it came back.

His Kindergarten teacher had on her union shirt. So that annoying memory is forever saved for me.

acs said...

William, I apoligize up front.. I went a bit longer than planned but had to vent a bit.

Srodos, You really scared me there for a second. Thanks for the correction. :)

The Union is bullying everyone now that the board will not budge. Just the beginning NSD parents. Get ready when they begin the tried and true Teacher Union tactic called "work to contract" coming soon if not already there in a NSD school near you.
I think the repercussions will be much like their back to school night antics.
We all love teachers but the UNION?well that is a different kettle of fish and it is one that smells very bad for all it comes in contact with ....members and certainly the community for which it has nothing but disdain. I know like many of you writing here that many many NSD teachers hold their nose when they pay dues or see Union leaders.
I agree with srodos. No reason for board to compromise as healthcare inflation for next 3 years will cost district less than what the union demand so obviously but also what the board has proposed. Remember tax revenues are falling foreclosures up and Act 1 is 2.9,
Recipe for more and more cust so we might as well save on teacher's contract.
I think now it is almost certain that Webb and board will be forced to contract out some or all of Support Services. I heard a number like $3+M alone in busing. It is a shame but NFT will force this outcome by insisting on no concessions.
AS IL says the beat definitely goes on but Louise Boyd and the NFT are holding the drum. The board now has 100% community support and 3 very "fiscally responsible" board members that will hold firm so might as well sit on negotiations and now move on to other more important business like what programs we have to cut, what school needs to be closed and what servcies to outsource..all due to out of control labor costs and greed driven union leaders who now insist on even more taxpayer money so NSD teachers can live better with a job for life unlike anyone else in Middletown twp. It really starts to boil down to that doesn't it?

acs said...

Double Sorry.

I meant to say 3 newly elected "fiscally responsible" board member to join the several "fiscally responsible" directors on the board. The teachers union will have a difficult road if they choose to not concede on next contract. Time to give back after benefiting so much from what was really a contract that was so incompetently negotiated by the board in 1998 and 2002. There were likely back room shenanigans that went on but now the board needs to correct it. Teachers have a misguided sense of entitlement that does not serve them well.
Triple sorry William you got me going again.

NSDFREE said...

William, I still haven't gotten an answer on what the new 20/30/70 plan will cost.

I am dissapointed that you do not know these figures cold. The health care costs are the crux of this argument. It would be nice to see the actual numbers we are talking about.

Don't get me wrong, it is time for district employees to chip in. I would like to support your cause but you are leaving me and the rest of the community blind to the facts.

William O'Connor said...

NSDFREE, please go to the district's negotiation website at http://www.nsdboard.blogspot.com/ and please resesarch the site thoroughly for any info you may need. If there are any gaps in what you need, let me know and I'll do my best to answer.
Please understand that I do have a day job which makes it difficult for me to answer every question that comes in, which is why I am pointing you to a site designed specifically for that purpose.

NSDFREE said...

William, I have checked that site thoroughly, It just gives projections of how much the district will save.

The gaps are the actual cost per employee for the different plans.

William O'Connor said...

Apparently you've contacted another board member with the same question. He will be responding to you directly.

Libertae said...

I find it interesting that the District said almost two years ago that it wouldn't negotiate anything until the healthcare issue is settled, yet even today it seems difficult for them to come up with actual facts and figures. If I recall correctly, this was one of the reasons the mediator initially sided with the teachers.

NSDFREE said...

William, thank you for your efforts. I did contact the board president looking for answers. It bothers me even more that the President of the school Board doesn't know these numbers cold. I will await his response.

Ivy League said...

William, whose comments needed to edited, mine or my secret admirer's?

ACS... you said, "They have taken actions since day one to agitate, irritate and offend residents." What day exactly are you counting as day 1? The first back to school night this year? Wasn't that more like day 400ish? Didn't their contract end in June 2008? Haven't they been trying to negotiate since January 2008 ( you know... like 22 months ago)? You can't give them any credit? ACS you need to recant your assertion that 100% of the NSD community supports this school board. How can you possibly misrepresent fact? I guess it's the same ignorance to fact that makes you so certain that it was the union who refused to budge and are unwilling to negotiate.

William, it's nice to know that NSDFree will finally be getting a response, but I think it should be posted here for our edification.

NSDFREE...I like that you are asking questions. More people need to do so instead of just accepting and repeating rhetoric. Keep asking!

Levittowner... seriously you are upset about what your kid's teacher wore in a class pic? If you wanna be upset... you should take a look at MY kindergarten picture... one word... GARANIMALS.

Did your kid come home upset that day, or any day that his/her teacher wore a blue shirt? Did it make any difference to the education he/she received that day or the activities he/she participated in?

JS... the "older" teachers might have 27k to lose, but it's really the younger teachers who ultimately have more to lose in the long run by accepting the board's "generous" offer.

I know we have differing views on these issues; we are all passionate about our beliefs.

Let's acknowledge and celebrate the fact that we are afforded the FREEDOM to question, debate and speak freely. We owe that freedom to our Vets.

Now go thank a Vet.

William O'Connor said...

Another killer day at work so I won't be responding too much today . . .
Libertae - We have supplied facts and figures, and we maintain that info on the district negotiation website. The mediator of whom you spoke did not side with either the teachers or the district, but instead said they would recommend no changes until there was further negotiation between the two parties.

NSDFREE - I wish we could remember every number of every project I'm working on with the district, but there are more numbers out there than you appreciate. Last week we had to review a 60-page AYP improvement plan - Lots of data to absorb there. Then we recently resurrected a facilities study about our buildings - dozens of pages there too. Currently we are looking at all of our charges to the BCIU to identify possible savings. More lines and lines of numbers and data.
If all we worked on was the negotiation, then I'd agree we should have those numbers down cold. But we are dealing with thousands of numbers every day, not to mention holding down our daytime jobs (which for me involves even more numbers).

Ivy League - When the updated insurance costs are available, I will ask that the info is posted to the districts negotiation site since that is the definitive source for such info.
Very thoughtful last paragraph, by the way. Thank you.

acs said...

Sorry I recant 100%.
I will go with 95% from here on.

The offer was made in 1H 2008. The fact that through a complete economic meltdown in this country and in Middletown the Union insists on 6-7% raise and FREE Medical etc etc. To 95% of the community that is irritating. Then to do a protest on back to school night because the board will not give them that or negotiate with healthcare off table, was very offensive and agitating to 95% of the community. You are a strong voice for the 5% and that makes the blog interesting.
Now I agree on freedom of speech and the heroes that have protected it. I think about this each and everyday when I see the actions of Obama and his Washington pals in congress that now seem to want to prevent free speech that was defended by brave American's blood for over 200 years. Very scary stuff but that is for another blog.

Levittowner said...

Ivy:
I made a statement I was annoyed..not what you seemed to allude to (massive upset)
I feel like I had a perfectly natural response to my child's class picture including a
union shirt, whether you think so or not.

Hope you get over your childhood trauma with wearing garanimals.

NSDFREE said...

It has been 2 days and I am still waiting for the healhcare costs.

William O'Connor said...

The costs can be somewhat fluid, and Mr. Webb has asked our Human Resources person to obtain the most up-to-date numbers for the 20/30/70 plan. As soon as the insurance company gets back to us with the data, Mr. Webb will respond to your query.

Please correspond with him directly if you have any further questions in this regard.

acs said...

William, who will take Dr. Spitz's place on the negotiating team?

NSDFREE said...

Well, I received the costs of the healthcare (thanks Mr Webb). Basically the district will save $400+ per employee per month going to the 20/30/70 plan. That is $4800a year that the employee would be giving back. The board would also like each employee to give back 15%of the premiums which equals $2400 a year.
I cannot look at these numbers and support the board on it's no bargaining on healthcare stance. Asking employees to give back $7200worth of benefits a year is not fair. For a support staff worker that makes $45k a year, that is 9% of their salary including benefits.
Can't the board be happy getting back $400 per employee a month (4.8million a year for 1000 staff). Instead the board refuses to budge and is costing tax payers 4.8 million a year instead of offering the 20/30/70 plan with no contribution.
I am not a negotiator and maybe I am missing something. If I am please point it out.

William O'Connor said...

ACS - That decision is up to the Board President, Mr. Webb. I don't think he'll name a replacement until after the December 7th meeting.

NSDFREE - Before I print your comments, please go back and re-check your math. I think you've double counted the 15% contribution.

srodos said...

NSDFree:
Part of the problem is that both healthcare costs and pension contributions are lumped together in the budget as employee benefits and appear as a separate line item in all of the following areas:
Regular Education;Special Education;Vocational Education;Other Instructional;Pupil Personnel Support Services;Instructional Staff Support; Pupil Health; Business Office;Custodial and Plant Maintenance; Transportation;Support Services- Central; Student Activities and Community Services.
I am listing these to explain why the figures may be hard to come up with on short notice not that there is anything out of line. Just my explanation of the reasons for a time delay. All of the categories listed with the totals are in the Budget which was given to all interested residents.

William O'Connor said...

I wanted to clarify an important point regarding NSDFREE's comment of November 12th (2:31pm).

The average increase to an employee under the 20/30/70 plan is approximately $2,374 annually (their current contribution is now $0).

NSDFREE's comments regarding a $7,200 giveback refer to the perceived loss in value to the employee's overall compensation package. In other words, a change to a reduced-cost health plan equates to a reduced value as well. It does not mean that an employee will be paying $7200 more out of pocket.

uponfurtherreview said...

It's true that support staff make less than teachers and I wouldn't mind seeing some more flexibility with the board's stance but the support union better get real, and they better do it REAL FAST. Come on! Offering a token contribution to a top expense insurance program and then asking for more than a 3% raise? I haven't done the math but I'll bet their proposal will cost tax payers more and that just isnt' going to fly these days.

The unions probably hate Webb because of his strong stand but take a look at what the new board will look like. All of a sudden Webb will be one of the more reasonable board members, and he may be in the minority. Don't be surprised if the new board members demand all offers to be withdrawn and all negotiations to cease. Outsourcing support staff jobs will be the only avenue left.

acs said...

New board will be very bad news for both unions. The people of Middletown spoke very loudly last week. They are not happy with the teachers union and want them stopped. They are more happy with board but most I talk to say board offer is too rich. I think if that is what we get that is a good first step. Webb has his work cut out maintaining his current position with Unions and control of board. This will get very dicey for the district going forward. But in the end the money is not there and the savings from outsourcing it tremendous to district taxpayers so it will be very hard to stop the momentum the Support Staff President let get started by board and taxpayers.

LivininLevittown said...

The board can't give more flexibility to the support staff in negotiations because that will weaken their negotiations with the teachers. My neighbors work as support staff for neshaminy and they are good people but they must decide if they want jobs or not. Before they can decide the union has to share the board offer with them so they can vote on it. As of last week they haven't heard squat from their union and if it weren't for this blog they wouldn't have even known an offer was made at all.

Gabriel said...

Mr. Webb is now at a disadvantage as a board president. His job is to negotiate this contract and so an offer was put through that asks for significant concessions by the teachers. The only way the board could make their demands more palatable to the teachers was to offer a 3% raise which is higher than the going rate but isn't horrible either. Overall it's a reasonable offer considering the concessions but the teachers union will probably never accept it.

Now look at the situation. The public seems content to let this situation go on indefinitely since the teachers salaries are in essence frozen. As far as they're concerned it doesn't matter if the NFT will agree so we might as well just retract the offer completely any way. If the new board members take on that attitude, Mr. Webb could find himself being the odd man out and then being replaced as board president. That won't happen this year but it could next year if an agreement isn't signed.

It will be very interesting to see who Webb appoints to replace Spitz on the negotiations committee.

NSDFREE said...

Gabriel,

What most of the community doesn't realize, is that letting this situation go on is costing the taxpayers $4.8 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR for the current health care plan. About 3% of the total budget. Offer the NFT the 20/30/70 with no contribution.

acs said...

Gab, I agree that the offer was needed last year and by all measures it was a fair offer with needed concessions from Union. Times are different now and with the deteriorating economy taxpayers are far less tolerant of teachers/SS and their unions. Union willl be hard pressed to get any contract out of this board that doesn not contain significant concessions. Taxpayers will hold Webb and crew accountable if they cave now. That being said with new members there is very little chance the board will give up ground now on their offer and now a real chance they will pull it and then outsource at least busing.

csld said...

I was not able to get to the last board meeting but from what I hear there was a support staff member that spoke up and from what little I heard of this he spoke about what alot of the support staff members feel about what is going on .Can someone fill me in.William can you tell me when I can catch this meeting on the neshaminy channel.

William O'Connor said...

It's on NNTV every day at 2pm, 6pm, and midnight. Yes, a proud Neshaminy bus driver said he did not agree with the union because now was a time for concessions. He cited one specific unreasonable benefit - double dipping of insurance where a couple are both employed in the district, and one spouse receives payment in lieu of their premium (1/3rd) while being covered under their spouse's insurance.

csld said...

Thanks William.Good for him he said what alot of us Neshaminy employyes feel.I am in total agreement with him and so are alot of my co-workers reguardless of what classifications they are in.
This double dipping thing is ridiculous requardless of what kind of economy we are in.Well when you have at least two union reps that I know of that are double dipping of course they are going to shoot that down.I am sorry but I am so sick of this union protecting there own and pretty much saying the hell with the partimers.They better reakize that they have more partimers then fulltimers.We just want to keep our jobs without the threat of outsourcing us.I am sorry for the rant but I speak for all partimers when I say we are tired of taking the short end of the stick because the Teachers and the fulltimers don't want to pay for their benefits.Pay for part of your benefits like 98 percent of this country does.

William O'Connor said...

I heard the NESPA leaders are holding a meeting with the rank and file soon. True?

acs said...

William, I did not know this double dipping thing is this true for teachers? What possible logic is there for this?

csld said...

Yes true it should be interesting.

William O'Connor said...

It's an unexpected consequence of a cost savings idea, ACS. As an incentive not to use our expensive plan, employees can instead take a 1/3rd cash payment each month while going under their spouse's coverage. I don't think our negotiators back then thought about the scenario where the spouse is also covered under our plan. Definitely this double dip should go.

William O'Connor said...

Good luck to you, csld.

acs said...

Geeezzzz, It seems never ends when you get in to the perks given to NSD teachers in the last CBA vs any other teachers in PA...maybe even America.
William was there even a board on the other side of the negotiating table last time or was this just done by union leaders???? It defies any logic what they have gotten out of taxpayers.
This is really obscene and a complete insult to the intelligence of every taxpayer in Middletown. They really need to be ashamed to now be literally asking fro EVEN more. The unmitigated gall. I hope new board memebers help you stand up to the union theives.

NSDFREE said...

ACS, Don't forget, Eccles was on the board when that contract went through.

Wing Man said...

Don't know when your meeting is csld but you don't have much time. According to the district's website the opening bids for outsourced busing were due in last week, and they amended the bid requirements for custodial services. Once these bids are public, your leaders won't have much of a union left to represent. Judging from her actions so far, as long as she has the fulltime/benefits members remaining, that will be just fine by her.

I second William's best wishes to you csld. Good luck.

William O'Connor said...

The following comment by acs was edited for content.

It was (former school board member) Schoenstadt that sold us all out to the union. Really, as I have alleged before there was incompetence [that] should have been investigated.
We will see where Mr. Eccles is this time. If he runs in 3 years he would be easy pickings now for a strong fiscal conservative along with a few others running then. Just like the incumbent loss this time.

I Must Be Living in Jersey said...

How about a little encouragement for our fellow Neshaminy Info blogger and support staff worker, CSLD?

Stand up for yourself and your fellow part time workers, CSLD! Get your union to represent the majority of its workers and accept the board's latest proposal. We're behind you!

acs said...

No problem William.

We all support CSLD and also the brave bus driver that spoke at the last SB meeting. He made an excellent point in saying they need to take the board offer and it was obvious he knew of the board offer ONLY was when it was posted on the SB site. Not from Mindy.
Does anyone else see the irony of this. Union leaders acting on their own with out member support. I have inferred from many pro-teacher and obvious teacher bloggers that they also have not heard directly from the union leader what they are asking for. Just from Webb in BCCT. Apparently out of 700+ there is not a single teacher who is brave enough to get up and speak for themselves on how fair the board offer is vs Boyd's ridiculous demands.
These are the intelligent educated and so-called committed community members. However, obviously they are Union members first and care little about the community.
Who can possibly defend Unions as something that serves any interest except greed.... they do not serve children's needs, certainly NOT NSD educational quality and not the community at large.
For you teachers reading come forward at least to your leadership that is really ruining your reputation...you all aren't lemmings, there has to be one leader in the bunch like the courageous NSD Bus Driver. We know many many of the members want this settled with the board offer.

On the outsourcing bids to be open once they are the new board will be forced to pursue aggressively since the savings will be too much. Taxpayers will insist we realize the savings to offset the excessive labor costs of NFT members. Support staff is now in a no win due to union leader GREED. Seems to be the only operative word of unions eh?

NSDFREE said...

ACS, You cannot blame the last contract on Shoenstadt. It takes 5 votes to get it passed. I am sure Eccles was one of those Yeh votes.

NSDFREE said...

I must be living in Jersey, To vote for this offer from the board would take roughly $6000 worth of benefits away from each support staff member. For most of these workers, that is a 10% or more cut from their entire package.
The average salary of a SS worker is probably $45K.

NSDFREE said...

ACS, As I said before, the board is trying to take away $7200 a year ($4800 from benefits and $2400cash)from each NFT Member. You call that fair? The board won't even negotiate on that, you call that fair?

What I see that isn't fair, is that the board is spending 4.8 million dollars in health care a year by not negotiating.

I Must Be Living in Jersey said...

NSDFREE, have you forgotten next year's budget limit is 2.9%? If we give the union's free insurance, not only will we not be able to put a dime back into the classrooms but we'll have to start cutting programs. And as William pointed out, they aren't losing $6,000 in benefits. They're being asked to give back $2,374 HOWEVER they are also being offered a raise far more generous than most districts are giving.

Yes this does call for a sacrifice by the NFT and support staff unions, but they have had it incredibly good for the last two contracts and now it is time for them to give back.

NSDFREE said...

I must be living in New Jersey, They are losing $4800 in benifits, their new plan will cost the district $400 less a month, the package will not be as good.

You can spin it any way you want, they are losing $4800 a year in benefits.

Will they lose their benefits, no. But they will lose the quality of the benefits.

acs said...

NSDFREE. The board is trying to help the Staff keep their jobs and more importantly their benefits.
If they get outsourced they will pay a lot more as a % of income for healthcare that is if the outsourcer hires them.
The deal is getting them at par with other districts and the rest of the world.
Yes a VERY VERY fair offer given they have no leverage and can be replaced unlike teachers.

NSDFREE this is what private sector workers have experienced in the past 20 years. Taxpayers and School districts can no longer afford to pay for all this. Public workers all over the US are picking up the burden for their healthcare. Why is NSD exempt when our residents are strapped and struggling? What is YOUR argument for SS and teachers to get all the freebees still? I am still looking for a legitimate argument defending the union demands and have not heard any. All Anderson and Boyd do is rail at the board, say how dedicated and hard working their members are(like the rest of us aren't) and present petitions....no logic to their positions therefore no defense at the podium at SB meetings.

NSDFREE said...

ACS, My argument is the last post, without an employee contribution the unions would give back 4.8 million a year by taking the lesser plan.

You don't see that as a give back? That is almost 3% of the budget.

Other districts do not pay 15% of healthcare costs, and they have better plans than the 20/30/70. The board needs to negotiate.

JS said...

NSDFree,

You seem to claim that the savings in switching plans should allow the district to offer keeping the 0% contributions.

I'm not saying the teachers are not good in Neshaminy, but why should Neshaminy be the ONLY teachers in the entire county to not pay a portion of their premiums? Also why should they be the only ones when it has been several years since the only other teachers paid 0%?

Also the cost of premiums goes up every year, so why not make the teachers help differ that cost by paying a %? You talk about "decrease in benefit value", well besides higher copays they are still in the same network (i.e. don't have to switch doctors) and it is the most inclusive and accepted in PA. It's a better plan than even the highest one offered to largest employer in the area (St. Mary's) and which the employees pay about 25% of the premiums. How much of a raise did they get this year? 2%(and that is after having an official yearly evaluation, so not like teachers).

Seems to me that even the current offer is a bit much when you take area employers into account. "But the education of the children is important" rallying cry for better teacher pay should be remembered the next time you go to a hospital for care.

So an employer in the immediate area with a large number of positions requiring advanced or specific degrees pays 25% contributions, a 403b plan (i.e. no guaranteed pension), and other lower benefit levels (sick/vaction time carryover, etc.). Compare that to what even the District has offered, 3% raise (1% guaranteed and 2% average step guaranteed simply by working another year), 15% contribution (which works out to an average of 2,374 per person, the lowest a St. Mary employee will pay for single coverage on a lesser plan than Nesh is $2,200. A couple will pay almost $5,200 a year.), guaranteed pension and a full 2 months off during the year.

I'm also guessing your "average" Support Staff number of $45k is probably WAY off, but that only serves to why that group is getting horrible representation by their union leaders. The ones at the negotiating table are some of the highest paid with the most secure job positions (i.e. least likely to be outsourced). That means they would rather argue about contribution and raises than actually keeping jobs.

I Must Be Living in Jersey said...

Do you really want to make comparisons to other districts NSDFREE? Ok then -

* What other teachers in Bucks pay ZERO for their health care?
* What other teachers in Bucks receive a $27,500 perk for retiring?
* What other teachers in Bucks work as short a day as Neshaminy teachers?
* What other teachers have been offered a 3% raise?

You are right about the board needing to negotiate but not this board. It's the boards who were in place during the last two contracts that needed to negotiate but they didn't. Teachers received EVERYTHING they wanted without making a single concession! It's been that way for 10 years now. Please do not come to us saying what's fair now because none of you were concerned about fairness back then.

Webb, O'Connor and the others are trying to fix this problem, not just try to stop the bleeding. Maybe the NFT president should have thought about that before stating that paying for benefits was never on the table. How come you never criticize them for failing to negotiate?

NSDFREE said...

JS, IMBLINJ,

So what district should the NFT have a contract comparable to?

Don't say any, give me a Bucks County district.

NSDFREE said...

JS, I don't know about St Mary's nor do I care. We are discussing NSD. There is a reason the new plan is cheaper besides just higher co-pays. Take the time and examine the differences before saying they are the same.

I am not saying that the teachers deserve a raise, or that they shouldn't pay a % in the future.

The board is trying to take too much. Did you see my 4.8 million dollar figure? That isn't enough?

NSDFREE said...

IMBLINJ, The reason I don't criticize the NFT for not negotiating is because they are trying to negotiate.

The board WILL NOT negotiate on anything else until the NFT accepts their non-negotiable Health care offer.

I Must Be Living in Jersey said...

I wouldn't want to build a contract after any particular district. We need a contract that makes sense for Neshaminy.

The board's original offer was fair - 3% raises and 10%-12% over three years for benefits. And they did away with all the perks like the $27.5k retirement thing.

Ultimately I would like to see teachers contributing monthly to health care like most of us do (25% to 35%) but I know that won't happen in one contract. We are already two contracts behind where we should be so we need to make dramatic changes just to get us on par with where we should have already been.

acs said...

The NSD contract is unparalleled. That is not debatable and they now need to concede or work without a contract for years.

acs said...

NSDFREE
You need a fact check... in August Boyd told board negotiators the Union will not sit down until any healthcare contirbution is totally OFF the table.
Webb has repeatedly offered to meet in the BCCT and in the taped SB meetings.

Str8 Shutr said...

Forgive me acs and Jersey for jumping in on your discussion, but NSDFREE since when has the NFT tried to negotiate? When? Where? What are you basing that statement on? Not even their president will deny she made the statement that paying for benefits were never on the table, just like Jersey said. How can you call that negotiating?

The board has asked for many give backs, yes that's true but they offered at least a 3% raise which is better than the average. Can you tell me NSDFREE exactly what has the NFT offered back to the district as a concession? They insisted on top tier insurance with no contributions. They haven't offered to take less than 3%. They wanted to increase the $27.5k to $30k. So please tell me where the union has tried to negotiate?

The only thing they've tried to negotiate is a better deal for themselves.

Blume said...

I don't think there will be settlement with the NFT any time soon so we should turn our attention to the support staff workers of NESPA. If this group settles that will put more pressure on the teachers. The problem is how NESPA can settle when its people don't even know of the offers on the table?

Assuming CSLD is really a support staff worker (I am not doubting that you are but I don't really know) then as of a few days ago they and their associates have never been told of what the board has proposed. It sounds as though the NESPA president is only representing the union staff with benefits which is the minority.

I find it unconscionable that Mrs. Anderson would brag about how many petitions she has acquired from her neighbors but she hasn't bothered listening to her own people. If the NESPA workers hear the offer and turn it down, then at least they made a decision and can live with the consequences. But if a single job is outsourced before NESPA workers hear what the board offer is, then Mrs. Anderson should have lots of explaining to do.

It's not right, and it's not fair. People like CSLD deserve better than that - much better.

csld said...

Thanks for all your kind comments I do appreciate it.Yes Blume I am a real support staff employee,I have been one for over 12 years.With that being said I have known alot of Neshaminy employees over the years and they are for the most part really good and dedicated employee's.You have to realize this that most if not all support staff are not only Neshaminy employee's but they too are tax payers and as much as you do not what your taxes to go up neither do they.

csld said...

Blume us partime people know why Mrs Anderson hasn't told us the offers it because the offer that we read on Neshamany web page would be taken in a heart beat by the support staff.The only problem with the offer that we see is the outsource possiblity after 3 yrs.But then again food service has always had this threat and they aren't even paid by tax dollars .We were never told about this offer or asked to vote on it probably because if you notice there are more part timers than full timers so this would mean the full timers would have had to pay for their benefits like the real world.In the real world you pay for your benefits ,you dont take 3 days off and then get paid for overtime and you don't get paid every month because your spouse gets benefits and you can get them through them.I am sure alot of part timers will be speaking up this coming meeting.

acs said...

Surprising you have had no discussion of the teacher strike article on legislation introduced this week.
Why not William is it not in YOUR interest politically?

William O'Connor said...

I'm glad to see you think I haven't anything better to do but blog all day ACS, so try this on for size - my employer, who pays my bills, had me out of town in meetings till late every night. Then selfishly, instead of blogging, I took time to eat dinner around 9pm. Sorry it didn't leave me much time to blog, nor could I attend the Dengler auditorium dedication either. Wanna blame that one on politics, too? I got back in town late this afternoon but haven't read the last few days worth of the Courier Times. I thought I earned a little more respect than that from you ACS.

acs said...

William,
No disrespect intended. In the past I have found you to be quick to post controversial teacher/SD articles like the one on Wednesday fairly quickly, so I was surprised to see the NHS football game took precedence.
But understand completely your lack of time available to read the BCCT, I have had those kind of weeks as well. That being said I was looking for your postiion as an elected SB Director and maybe added a little too sarcastic question to probe. Sorry for that.

William O'Connor said...

ACS, I've maintained a web presence since February 2004. In my last website (the now defunct www.neshaminy.info) I carried several articles about the anti-strike legislation that was proposed by a State Rep.

My view on the matter is simple - if a service is deemed compulsory by the State (such as education), then said service must always be available. Teacher strikes should not be allowable if education is mandated by the State.

Clear enough?

acs said...

Would be nice to have the school board memebers speaking out vs other so called "representatives of neshaminy" agitators. If the board supports it I think you should help get it done and get all the state legislators on board with it. Where is Farry? No where to be found on this issue.

William O'Connor said...

Note to JS - I cannot publish your comments because it contains hearsay of what others said. I can confirm to you that there was a NESPA meeting yesterday (Saturday), and I too have heard from numerous sources in attendance that some rather interesting statements were made. But since I was not there to witness the comments for myself, I won't post the alleged statements here.

JS said...

Well then all I ask is if CSLD atteneded ?(hopefully the part timers were told of the meeting)

Maybe some things can be relayed that way, which wouldn't be hearsay.

Levittowner said...

Having been using this forum since it's inception-let's all remember that part of William's elected position does NOT include having to keep this blog.

Personally, I have always admired his sense of civic duty. He and his wife spearheaded a group that tried to get out accurate information about the school renovation. From there he went on to be on the school board. Personally I look at this blog as something of a gift..voluntarily given to us and to be appreciated. I'm sure William takes much time away from his family to keeping this board as active as it is.

csld said...

Yes JS I was there and I do not know what you heard.But with out going into detail ,we are still at a standstill.With that said I would like to wish all a Happy Thanksgiving.I know I am just thankful I still have a job and hopefully I can say the same next Thanksgiving.