Friday, October 31, 2014
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Hearing on teacher anti-strike bill set for Thursday

Pennsylvania House Education Committee is coming to Neshaminy, site of the longest current teacher contract impasse.

Hearing on teacher anti-strike bill set for Thursday

State Rep. Paul Clymer.
State Rep. Paul Clymer.

The Neshaminy School District, mired in a contract impasse with its teachers for more than three-and-a-half years, will host a state hearing Thursday on a bill that would make teacher strikes and school lockouts illegal.

The Pennsylvania House Education Committee, chaired by Rep. Paul Clymer, R-Bucks, will discuss House Bill 1369 at Neshaminy High School starting at 10 a.m. The hearing is open to the public.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin, contains financial penalties, including a $5,000 individual fine, per incident, for inciting a strike; striking teachers losing two days of pay for each day of an illegal strike; and the striking union forfeiting its dues check-off privilege for one year.  

In the past decade, Pennsylvania has led the country with 94 teacher strikes, affecting 247,000  students, according to Rock’s web site. Thirty-seven states, including New Jersey, prohibit teacher strikes.

In June, the 700 members of the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers overwhelmingly authorized leadership to call a strike in the state’s longest current impasse. The district is about to start its fourth year without a contract, and teachers have not gotten a pay raise since 2007.

Leaders of the union and the school board are expected to speak at the hearing, in addition to representatives of the  American Federation of Teachers, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the Commonwealth Foundation.

The high school is at 2001 Old Lincoln Highway in Langhorne.

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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