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School support staff returns to work

| Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005

Twenty support staff members returned to work Tuesday at the South Allegheny School District after their union entered the fact-finding stage of negotiations with the district, Superintendent Elaine Brown said Wednesday.

Members of South Allegheny Educational Support Professionals -- an affiliate of the Pennsylvania State Education Association -- struck Aug. 22 after the union and school board failed to agree on a contract. The bargaining unit includes eight secretaries, a technology technician and 11 teacher aides.

Brown said union president Amy Huwalt told the school board the union had decided to enter fact-finding, which required its members to return to work while a state-appointed mediator or panel of three mediators intervenes.

Under state law, the mediators can subpoena witnesses. According to the Pennsylvania School Board Association, fact-finding results in a contract about a third of the time.

No one from the union could be reached for comment.

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