Meeting #45, Neshaminy Contract Talks:
The NFT lead negotiator Tom Jennings was not present for the session, marking the fourth meeting out of the last five that he has not been in attendance. His absence creates a hindrance to the negotiation process.
Both sides met face to face for 20 minutes, and then met in separate rooms while the mediators shuttled back and forth.
The Board provided its latest offer in writing to the NFT, again proposing to agree as part of a contract to the twelve items that were part of the recent arbitrator's decision, and signed off by the NSD Board attorney, Chuck Sweet and the NFT attorney, Tom Jennings.
The point of contention which prevents progress is on one item; the language surrounding the length of the work day. The board proposed an 8 hour work day; the NFT wants to keep the current 7 hour work day. The arbitrator proposed a compromise of a 7 ½ hour work day.
In an effort to further negotiations, the Board agreed with the arbitrator for a 7 ½ hour work day. The NFT however refused to compromise. This issue remains unsettled, and prevents agreement on the list of twelve items.
The most distressing thing about this evening’s meeting is the NFT’s unwillingness to even try to negotiate. It’s like they just mailed it in tonight.
Perhaps this being done as a way of bettering their position as they seek a judge’s intervention, which is unfortunate because such a strategy helps neither side and is doomed to failure.
Despite all this, the NFT continues to seek an unaffordable contract that will hurl the district well beyond the financial limits of Act 1, which will in turn force the Board to slash student programs. Such an outcome violates this Board’s guiding principle of erring on the side of our kids, and therefore is not an option for us.
Once again the Board asked for a negotiation session on 9/6/2012. The NFT refused to respond to the mediator this evening, but said it would respond to the mediator in writing this week.
Meeting #46 is scheduled for Wednesday, 8/8/2012.