Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Board Identifies "Gut" Issues

Meeting #42 took place without NFT Chief Negotiator, Tom Jennings, who did not attend for the 3rd consecutive bargaining session.  The NFT offered no explanation as to Mr. Jennings' absence.

The NFT, through the mediator, requested negotiations be held every day in the month of August, including Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 10:00am. The board respectfully rejected the proposed meeting dates stating that board members are volunteers and receive no compensation, and they must work during the day to support their families.

The board did request at the July 5th session to meet on 8/8, 8/15, 8/29 and 8/30. These dates were agreed to by both parties, with starting times of 6:00 pm.

The board presented a list of 15 “gut“ issues, along with the board’s bottom line with respect to each issue.  Among these issues were retirement incentives, 15% healthcare contributions, and equal say.

The board indicated to the mediator with unmistakable emphasis that they would not move beyond the bottom line on any of the issues as expressed.

The two parties did not meet face to face and the mediator shuttled back and forth between the meeting rooms.

The board had previously presented the concept of using the Souderton School District’s recently settled teachers' contract as a model for consideration. Prior to tonight’s meeting the board forwarded an actual copy of the Souderton contract to the NFT. After lengthy consideration the NFT advised the board, through the mediator, that they were not prepared to respond tonight to either the “gut” issues or the Souderton contract. The NFT promised to do so at the July 18th meeting.