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Public Comment Regarding Collective Bargaining

Public Comment Regarding Collective Bargaining

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Published by prideandpromise
Northwestern Lehigh School District, Collective Bargaining, Public Comment regarding Collective Bargaining 12-2-09
Northwestern Lehigh School District, Collective Bargaining, Public Comment regarding Collective Bargaining 12-2-09

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Published by: prideandpromise on Jan 16, 2010
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08/07/2010

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Northwestern Lehigh School DistrictPublic Comment from School Board regarding Collective BargainingDecember 2, 2009
The Northwestern Lehigh Teacher Contract expired on June 30, 2009. The Board and theTeacher’s Association began the process of negotiations for a new collective bargainingagreement in January 2009 in anticipation of the expiring contract.The Board and the Teacher’s Association met collaboratively 8 times from January throughSeptember 2009 as part of the collective bargaining process to move towards mutual resolutionof the contract. The Board and Teacher’s Association, through this process, made tentativeagreements on several items for the new contract, but were unable to bridge the impasse thatexisted on several other items in the contract, such as salary schedules and health care benefits.Therefore, in September, the Board requested use of the Fact Finding process offered by the PA Department of Labor. This is a standard procedural element of the collective bargainingprocess that is outlined in Act 88 of 1992 and the Public Employee Relations Act (PERA). TheTeacher’s Association mutually agreed to the Fact Finding Process.The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB), the State's authoritative agency for thisprocess, appointed the Fact Finder for this process. The Board nor the Teacher’s Associationhad control or input into the selection of the PLRB's appointed fact finder.The Fact Finding Hearing was held on November 5
th
and allowed for both the Board and theTeacher’s Association to present their positions and corresponding data. Both the Board andthe Association were complimented for their well-organized, respectful, and professionalpresentations and demeanor during the Fact Finding Hearing. The Fact Finder, Alex A.Kaschock, indicated he would have his report to the Board and Association on November 18
th
.The report did arrive after 5:00pm on November 18
th
. Upon receipt of this report, both theBoard and the Teacher’s Association had 10 calendar days to take official action to either fully accept or fully reject the entire report. Neither side is permitted to select specific items of agreement.Knowing the complexity of this report and the financial impact to our programs and ourtaxpayers the Board needed several days to thoroughly analyze the report.The Board scheduled an extra meeting for Wednesday, November 25
th
to take official action onthe report. This decision to meet on Wednesday, November 25
th
 was based on many factorsincluding: allowing a maximum amount of time for data and statistical analysis, complying with the deadline of November 28
th
for required action, public meeting advertisingrequirements, Board members’ schedules, and the impending holiday. The Board also typically meets on a Wednesday evening so the Board knew that was a generally recognized day for aBoard Meeting.

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