Bethel Park seeks fact-finding in teacher negotiations
The Bethel Park School District has requested a state-appointed fact-finder to make recommendations in the ongoing negotiations with the district's teachers union, a move that precludes the possibility of a strike at the beginning of the school year.
District leaders made the request Wednesday after their 21st round of negotiations with the Bethel Park Federation of Teachers, which has been working under the terms of an expired contract since June 30, 2010.
State law prohibits the union from going on strike during a fact-finding inquiry. The process requires time for the state to appoint a third party, time for both sides to present their best contract offers, 40 days for the fact-finder to issue recommendations and 10 days for the district and the union to notify the state whether they accept or reject the recommendations as the basis for a new contract.
District spokeswoman Vicki Flotta and federation President Diann Smith said teachers didn't intend to strike as students prepared to return to school Sept. 3.
“We're doing it because we feel it's a good tool to use going forward,” Flotta said.
Union representatives said the district's request surprised them.
“We negotiated today and nothing was said. ... In the past, it was discussed as to what the other side was considering,” said Smith, who called a negotiation session this month productive.
“(A strike) was always on the back burner, but it's not been discussed with the members,” Smith said. “We've not had a general membership meeting all summer. ... I told the members last year that we'd bring them any major decisions like that.”
The two sides can continue to negotiate during fact-finding, Flotta said. Through three years of negotiation and a six-week strike in late 2010, the two sides continue to disagree primarily over salaries and benefits issues. Non-binding arbitration in 2011 set the stage for a contract, but both sides rejected the recommendations.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Downtown holiday parade festive, but weather dampens turnout
- Woman dies after bleeding on sidewalk outside Carrick pizzeria
- Pet chiropractic more popular in Western Pa., but doubts linger
- Florida counties fight state on fracking plan
- Newsmaker: Tyra Oliver
- Republican presidential candidate Trump reframes claim that Muslims cheered 9/11
- Group urges Port Authority of Allegheny County to fund more transit routes
- U.S. must help Syrian refugees but not take them in, Carson says
- In letter, Plum school superintendent reassures parents on safety
- Shooting of Pittsburgh cab driver spotlights risks of profession
- Posing as refugees not easiest path to U.S. for ISIS jihadists