Arbitration Report Addresses Retro Pay, Retirement, Insurance Contributions
The arbitrator's report addresses a number of topics that the union and school board have been unable to agree on in negotiations.
The Neshaminy School Board and Neshaminy Federation of Teachers received the state-appointed arbitrator's findings and the school board has now released the details of that report to the public.
The report, which was provided to Patch by former school board member William O'Connor, addresses retroactive pay, raises, the length of the school day, the length of the school year, health care contributions, retirement and more.
In accordance with state law, both parties entered non-binding arbitration this past February following the teachers' eight-day strike in January.
If both the union and school board agree to the terms of the arbitrator's findings, it would become the new contract and would be effective from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2015.
Teachers would not receive salary increases for 2008, 2009 and 2010. They would receive a 1 percent raise for 2011; a 1.5 percent increase for 2012; a 2 percent increase for 2013; and a 2.25 percent increase for 2014.
In addition, union members would be placed on the step and credit level "appropriate to their actual service/credits as of June 30, 2012 or the date of mutual ratification" of the agreement, whichever date is later. Then, each year thereafter during the term of the contract, teachers would move up a step and/or move up to the appropriate credit level.
Union members would receive 50 percent of accrued back pay from salary schedule increases, missed steps and/or credit adjustments from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2012. The payment of this accrued back pay will be made to any teacher on the payroll on the date that the agreement is mutually ratified -- date of that the agreement is mutually ratified is whenever both sides agree to a contract. The payments will be made in 12 equal payments between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2015.
The arbitrator accepted the union's proposal to adopt a modified health care plan, which was proposed in the union's previous contract offer. Employee health care contributions would be 10 percent in 2012, 11 percent in 2013, and 12 percent in 2014.
The arbitrator accepted the school district's proposal to shorten the time for filing a grievance from 60 working days to 20 working days.
The arbitrator also accepted the school district's proposal to change the teachers' normal work hours from 7 hours to 7.5 hours per day. In addition, the arbitrator accepted the school district's proposal to change the teachers' normal work year from 188.5 days to 190.5 days.
Teachers will have to have served 15 years to receive health care coverage in retirement. They will have to have served 20 years for the incentive payment and health care coverage in retirement.
Also, that incentive payment would be $20,000 after 20 years of service, with an additional $1,000 for each additional year of service up to $25,000.
Retired employees and their spouses, current and future, will be subject to the same health care contribution rates as current employees.
The arbitrator rejected the school district's proposal on mandatory drug testing, background checks for current employees, and reporting of arrest and conviction within 72 hours.
Both parties have until May 12 to reject or accept the report. If they both accept the report, it would become the new contract for teachers. If either side rejects the report, negotiations will resume.
If both sides are unable to reach a settlement, the teachers can call another strike this school year. The number of days teachers would be able to legally go on strike would be determined by the state's Department of Education, but teachers would only be able to go on strike for a limited number of days to ensure that students would complete 180 days of instruction by June 30.
The PDF of the arbitrator's report is attached to this article under the photo.