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Negotiation Session Goes as Expected, Yielding No Progress

The Neshaminy Federation of Teachers and Neshaminy School Board met to negotiate Thursday night, but did not make any progress.

Thursday's negotiation session went as expected for Neshaminy School Board President Ritchie Webb.

"The NFT had no intention of negotiating in good faith, instead putting all their hope in a Bucks County judge to negotiate for them," he said following the meeting, which was .

For NFT President Louise Boyd, the meeting was "more of the same," "produced no substantive results" and was "another wasted night for the NFT negotiation team."

The meeting started, Boyd said, with the school board failing to produce the "promised" memorandum of agreement on the 12 issues in the arbitration award that both sides agreed upon. To avoid wasting time Jennings agreed to prepare the document, she said.

But at the bargaining table, Webb said that Jennings "continued to create a toxic atmosphere that was not conducive to productive negotiations." According to Webb, the school board believes that videotaping these meetings would help produce results and "eliminate the hostile atmosphere."

Jennings and the board's attorney Charles Sweet engaged in a "lengthy" and "heated exchange" regarding what Boyd refered to as "the board's desperate refusal to modify its position over the past four years."

During the exchange, Boyd said that the school board "freely admitted that its refusal to meaningfully negotiate, conduct that is presently being challenged in proceedings before the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, will not change."

According to Boyd, the union reminded the school board that "its expenditure of employee’s money seized by freezing the wage matrix was a foolish maneuver that would inevitably produce the financial day of reckoning that has now arrived. The millions of dollars that have flown into the Board’s coffers – an unprecedented windfall - belongs to the employees who earned it through five years of their labors must now be repaid to those employees."

Before the meeting ended, the NFT requested updated employee numbers since .

"The NFT apparently feels entitled to any savings as a result of staff attrition," Webb said. Related to this matter, Boyd said that the union proposed that both sides update their base factual and numerical assumptions regarding the cost of the contract.

"We are disturbed by the NFT's lack of commitment to these negotiation sessions," Webb continued.

In addition, Webb said Jennings requested to reschedule the next negotiation session from August 15 to the 16th. When the board asked Jennings for a reason why the change was needed, Webb said that he "refused to answer."

"It was only due to the strong encouragement of the mediator that the board agreed to accommodate this second request," Webb stated.

The next negotiation session will be August 16.

Frank Underwood August 10, 2012 at 02:07 PM
How much are the Unions "Giving Back" ?
former teacher August 14, 2012 at 01:28 PM
1. In 5 years the least expensive proposal the NFT has provided cost taxpayers nearly $30M more in 3 years including 80% retro pay at current value. 2. No proposal the NFT has offered saves taxpayers a single penny in current budget cost. All 8 were cost plus proposals adding significantly to an already unaffordable & unsustainable education budget. 3. If you include all perks that the NFT has that no other teachers in PA have, there is no debate that NFT is the highest in overall compensation. Using Only salary & benefit profiles to compare makes no sense since much that the NFT get is not included (e.g. Longevity pay, Premium Rolls Royce Health care costing on average $27K per teacher, life insurance in retirement, no HC premium contribution while working, 100% health ins coverage for retirees after only 10 years of NSD service, a $27.5K retiree bonus, 37% opt out payment equaling $10K payment per year($1M overall to taxpayers) & amazingly a COLA in contract. Retiree health care & $27.5K bonus have cost taxpayers $35M in the last decade...none of this impacted classroom education. 4. If you research what taxpayers have paid vs the other top cost Bucks school districts you find that over the past decade NSD taxpayers have paid nearly $100M more in "extra" taxes just pertaining to the cost of our teachers CBA. So normalized for millage it actually cost us more to educate Neshaminy kids due to all the extra money going to perks only to the NFT vs other Bucks teachers.
former teacher August 14, 2012 at 01:28 PM
5. NSD is the only local district STILL paying for MEQs as most did away with it in the 1990s or earlier. That alone has cost us roughly $30M extra in last 10 years. 6. According to NSD lawyers & administration the NFT are the only union in PA & NJ that has something in a CBA called an "equal say clause". 7. Annual Salary does not equal lifetime compensation/cost; nor does NSD compensation to its teachers end upon their retirement as in other districts. NSD teachers are compensated 8% more per year than CRSD teachers over the life of a comparable career. 8. The NFT has the shortest work day & work year. Taxpayers actually lose money with lost teaching time vs other districts since the NFT is compensated more than other teachers in Bucks that work more hours per year.
former teacher August 14, 2012 at 01:28 PM
9. With a mere 11 steps i.e. 11 years to go from $42K to $95.6K plus MEQs we pay more faster for less experience than other districts. 10. There is no possible reason or explanation for the NFT to warrant a CBA richer in pay & perks than the local market supports, therefore a parity contract to Souderton is fully appropriate including the removal of objectionable non-economic terms.
K.Brady August 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM
As a parent, I see the only one facing a "hardship" becuase of the lack of an agrrement on both parties is the children. They are being deprived of an adequate education, uninterrupetd. I do feel the "teachers' are expecting too much but also believe that the Board can offer them something......as with a stubborn child, five them a little so they feel in control. The salary the teachers receive is more than adequate and more than I receive as a pediatric intensive care RN. As for health care....poor plan here with high copays and deductibles. After retirement, no health benefit. Pension?? only if I contribute to a 401k myself. If you do not have the money to contribute, you do not get a pension. So, explain to me why the teachers deserve so much when the majority of America does not receive that. I value the contribution the teachers make on my child's growth, development and education. However, I do not know how you can claim to "care about the children" and are so easily persuaded to walk out on them. K.Brady
former teacher August 16, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Amen, K. Brady! You are preaching to the choir. The NFT has every right to ask anything they want. No one to date has given me a satisfactory explanation why children are being drawn into this.
Peter Kendall August 17, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Excise the cancer of public sector collective bargaining. It was wrong when Milton Shapp instituted it, and it's crushing the taxpayers, who have no role in the negotiations, but 100% of the liability. No right to strike, parity pay with the private sector, merit bonuses, and 401k plans instead of pensions.
Frank Underwood August 17, 2012 at 03:43 AM
There are two classes in the US. the privileged government worker and the hapless taxpayer.

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