Friday, December 19, 2014

Neshaminy teachers offer to end strike

Union seeks around-the-clock talks for seven days, followed by binding arbitration.

Neshaminy teachers offer to end strike

Blog Image
Louise Boyd, president of the Neshaminy teachers union, reads a statement Thursday night outside Maple Point Middle School, urging the school board to resume negotiations. (Bill Reed/Staff)

The 654-member Neshaminy Federation of Teachers offered Friday to end their five-day strike to enter around-the clock negotiations with the school board for one week, followed by "final and binding arbitration.

"We have been advised that the School Board is willing to engage in around the clock negotiations if the Federation is willing to immediately end its strike," the union said in a letter to school board President Ritchie Webb. "The Federation welcomes this Board offer to bargain twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week until agreement is reached, if the strike is suspended.

"We would readily agree to do so if the Board also agrees that if no agreement is reached within seven days of around the clock bargaining, all remaining disputes would be submitted to final and binding arbitration before an arbitrator selected from a list of seven names provided by the American Arbitration Association," the union said.

"The offer to enter into binding arbitration is huge," union spokesman Bob Schiers said. "It's the first time in the history of the NFT" that it has been offered.  

Webb said he had not made an offer to the union, other than that negotiations would resume once the teachers go back to work.

"The rest of it is spin," he said. "I am considering it."

Webb said he would respond to the union Friday afternoon, after discussing the offer with board members.

Schiers said that Webb and board Vice President  Kim Koutsouradis have said in interviews and at Tuesday's school board meeting that they would return to the table and negotiate around-the-clock, seven days a week, as soon as the teachers end their strike. 

About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at cpalmer@phillynews.com, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, FactCheck.org and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at bfinley@phillynews.com, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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