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Yough teachers get new contract

| Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Yough School Board has approved a four-year contract for teachers, ending nearly 15 months of negotiations.

The teachers union membership approved the proposed contract prior to Thursday's meeting of the school board. School directors approved the agreement unanimously, with all members present.

Teachers have been working without an agreement since June 30, 2010, when the previous contract expired. The new contract covered the period from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2014.

District Solicitor Gary Matta said the deal calls for the teachers to contribute about 10 percent toward health care costs. Wage increases are set at 1.5 percent for the first year, 1.25 percent in years two and three, and 1.35 percent for the fourth year, he said.

Matta said the biggest points of contention were changes to the health care program. During negotiations, the union was willing to change from Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield to a program through the health care consortium in Westmoreland County, resulting in savings of $1 million per year.

"Without that, the negotiations really were over, because the district did not have the finances to move forward," Matta said. "Because of that, we were able to strike a very good contract."

"This is a contract that will lead the Yough School District for the next four years being able to survive, even with the issues that the governor put in front of us here just a few days ago, and I think that's a credit to your teaching association to put us in the position that we are," Matta said.

Union President Doug Kasic said it was an extremely long process and an incredible amount of work for both sides.

"We've been working without a contract for a long time. Our members are extremely happy that we finally have a settlement," Kasic said.

"We believe it's a fair settlement for our members, for the district, for the community."

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