By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
EAST MARLBOROUGH — The Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Association voted to reject the a teachers’ contract settlement proposal offer by a state-appointed mediator — a fact-finding process request initiated by the teachers’ union — as the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board voted unanimously to accept the terms of the proposal, Monday night.
Although the report by Mariann E. Schick — appointed by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board in December to hear both sides’ proposals and offer a proposed settlement — has not been made public as of mid-day Tuesday, both sides were able to confirm that the teachers’ union had voted down the proposal. The teachers are expected to take a second vote on the issue in the next 10 days before the proposal is made public.
But the proposal could offer a framework for a potential settlement, or at least renewed negotiations.
While school district officials refused to discuss the contract proposal offer, citing state law, UCFEA President Pat Clark offered a quick insight to why his association rejected the proposal. He noted that members of the teachers’ union did not like some of the language of the report — specially citing a proposal to move teachers one-half step up in the salary matrix, instead of the full step being sought, noting that many teachers have been frozen in place in recent years.
“We see the report as a tool to work from and look forward to returning to negotiations,” Clark said in an email response seeking comment.
Clark said he expected to have more comment later on.
While there are no details on the salary numbers as yet — no information is expected to be released until the teachers take a second vote — sources suggested that they were closer to the board’s proposals than those sought by the UCFEA. District sources suggested that the board “reluctantly” decided to go along with the numbers, even though they were higher than previously offered by the district.
The UCFEA has been without a contract since June, 2010 and seemingly, there has been little movement in talks between the district and the union, although what were somewhat contentious talks appeared to improved in tone in recent weeks.