Teachers’ request for non-binding arbitration gets OK

40-day process by state-appointed ‘fact-finder’ will create new settlement proposal by end of January

By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
The Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Association — the teachers union — has asked for a form of non-binding arbitration to break the currently stalled negotiations for a new contract between the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District and the union.

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board appointed Mariann E. Schick to look at the current state of negotiations and offer a proposed settlement. Schick will not pick either the district’s or the union’s proposal, but rather has 40 days to come up a proposal she considers to be fair. Under state law, she has 40 days from Dec. 21 — roughly until the end of January, 2011 to offer her judgment. The teachers cannot strike during this process.

Still, whatever Schick decides, her ruling will not be binding — and negotiations are expected to continue in the meantime. Both sides can opt to agree — setting the state for a settlement, or decline. In this case, the Board of Education would have to hold a public vote during a formal board meeting — within 10 days of the proposal being issued. If either side rejects the proposed settlement, the negotiation process will continue.

The two sides had the last negotiating sesson on Dec. 17 and no new sessions have been scheduled, although the district, in a statement issued this week, said it remained “available” for further contract talks.

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