Thursday, September 27, 2012

More talks scheduled

Meeting No. 55
The School Board's negotiation committee met again this evening with the NFT negotiation team.
For the third session in a row, the parties engaged in a productive discussion concerning the terms of the Board's "Council Rock" proposal and how it relates to the Neshaminy School District.

Additional negotiation dates of October 2nd, 4th & 10th have been scheduled.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Last night's positive momentum continues

Meeting #54, September 20, 2012

The parties carried last night’s momentum forward by meeting at the table for a significant period of time to discuss the District’s “Council Rock Proposal.”  A number of the unanswered question posed last night by the NFT negotiation team were answered and new questions were posed.

In lieu of the bargaining session scheduled for the next Wednesday, and at the request of the mediator, representatives from each side will meet as needed to review relevant financial data.

The negotiation teams from both sides will reconvene next Thursday, September 27th.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Parties engage in "productive" talks

Meeting #53, September 19, 2012

The parties met across the table this evening for what both sides agree was a productive negotiation session.

The NFT negotiation team provided a number of additional question to the Board regarding its "Council Rock Proposal."

The Board answered a number of questions and requires additional time to provide appropriate responses for the remainder.

Negotiations resume tomorrow night.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Board release responses to NFT questions

The NFT is trying to spin our answers as incomplete and vague. Truth is our answers are extremely detailed and complete. Normally, the Board would sit face to face and review each question with union leaders. Since the state mediator has shown a preference to keep us separated the last few meetings, we reviewed details with him, item for item, then he took our answers and explanations to the NFT. A major part of our answers provided an index showing where we found the information, something we thought would be helpful. Taking all the documentation together, it makes sense. Without all the documents it does not, which is the root of the NFT’s spin.

The only question that we were vague on is what Council Rock’s CBA would cost Neshaminy Taxpayers. It would depend on when the contract was signed, what savings the district would realize from part year insurance change, and contributions to the healthcare plan. Another important issue is how many retirees would no longer be entitled to health care benefits going forward? I can assure you that the cost to Neshaminy Taxpayers will be far less that the $32 million the NFT is requesting in their current proposal. Why? Because Council Rock’s CBA does not include a retirement bonus of $27,500, free Rolls Royce healthcare now and in retirement, retro pay, etc.

Finally, the NFT had days to compile 44 questions; we had less that one to respond. If the NFT desires additional information, we will provide it. This offer is the closest we have come to resolving this impasse yet union leaders seem more concerned with banging the war drums. It sounds as though the NFT does not want this contract. Instead they appear to be choosing a path that paves the way for another strike while denying teachers a chance to vote on the Board’s offer.

Ritchie Webb
Neshaminy School Board President

Links to applicable documents:

Board responses to NFT 44 questions

Council Rock CBA

Powerpoint summary of Council Rock CBA highlights

NFT assumptions of Board offer

Arbitration items agreed to

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Board awaits NFT response

Meeting #52, September 13, 2012

The Board provided detailed, written answers with supporting documentation to the 44 questions given to them by the NFT at the last night's meeting.

The Board remains hopeful the rank and file will appreciate this latest offer of the Council Rock CBA as it provides our teachers with a generous contract, and its acceptance will spare our children from having to endure another possible strike.

The Board once again requested that union leaders allow their members to vote on the new proposal, to which there was no commitment.  The Board now awaits the NFT's decision.

The next negotiation session is September 19, 2012.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NFT seeks clarification on Board's offer

Meeting #51, September 12, 2012

The Board met with state mediators, John Cairns and William Gross, Director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Mediation for approximately two hours. Mr. Gross met separately with NFT and the Board; there was no face to face meeting. The NFT gave the Board via Mr. Gross a list of 44 questions regarding the Board's recent offer of Council Rock's contract.

The Board asked for time to review and answer the questions with the goal of completing by tomorrow night’s meeting. It is our hope that this will expedite the process, allowing the NFT to get this information to the rank and file for a vote and settlement.

The next meeting is tomorrow, September 13, 2012.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Board makes "game-changing" offer to NFT

Meeting #50

Tonight’s meeting was attended by William Gross, Director of the PA Bureau of Mediation along with state mediator John Cairns. The parties did not meet face to face, instead remaining in separate rooms while the mediators shuttled back and forth.

The Board presented to the NFT via Mr. Gross a new alternative proposal, a game changing offer to the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers. The Board has suggested using the Council Rock Collective Bargaining Agreement in its entirety as a framework for resolving this 4 year long impasse.

Council Rock is similar in size and economic scope to Neshaminy, but Council rock has consistently outperformed our district in key measures of success such as PSSA scores. We believe that offering a parity contract with a district that has superior results show our desires to invest in our teachers.

But with this commitment comes the expectation that our certified staff will join with administration in eliminating the stigma of status quo that has plagued our district. There is no room for complacency if we are going to return Neshaminy to academic excellence.

This offer is by far the best possible deal we can give to the NFT. I hope union leaders and our certified staff will give it careful consideration because this is a one-time offer. If not accepted, it comes off the table and we go back to square one.

Click here to see the Council Rock CBA