Friday, May 10, 2013

Webb encourages NFT to follow Pennsbury lead, allow members to vote

Earlier today, Neshaminy School Board President, Ritchie Webb, commented that he was pleased to see that the Pennsbury Teachers’ contract situation has been resolved.

“I remain hopeful that NFT officials will follow the lead of the Pennsbury union leaders and allow their teachers to vote for the proposal that’s on the table,” said Webb. “Depriving their own members of a true vote is a disservice that serves nobody except those in power who will do anything to protect that power.”

The Pennsbury school board approved a new contract following a state-appointed fact finder’s recommendations that Webb referred to as “remarkably fair.” He added that previous fact finder reports for Neshaminy “seemed to ignore the financial and educational needs of our district.”

Responding to comments from a Federation official earlier this week about the many memorandums of understanding (MOU’s) that the board does not want to include in a new agreement, Mr. Webb noted that the last contract is a lengthy 78 pages long but that amount is dwarfed by nearly 400 pages worth of these MOU’s.

“An NFT official said she wants to sit down and go over 112 of the 201 MOU’s they want to keep, one by one. My reaction is that I have zero interest in understanding the union’s desire to keep remnants of an outdated contract that didn’t work for the district,” said Webb. “We are looking to move this district into the future where collaboration is the result of a commitment to excellence, not because our administration’s hands are tied by burdensome contract language.”

Webb added that both Pennsbury and Council Rock had only “several” MOU’s to be negotiated into their new agreements.

When asked why NFT officials have not allowed their members to vote on the current offer, Webb said, “I don’t know why union leaders keep saying they can’t let a vote occur when what they should be saying is they won’t allow a vote. With most of the financial and student related issues already addressed, most of what remains are the “power” language issues that the majority of the teachers don’t really care about. Federation leaders know that if given a legitimate chance to vote, the rank and file would more than likely accept the board’s offer.”

As for the fate of the board’s offer, Webb said that they’ll keep it on the table for a while in hopes the NFT will come around.