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Mediator in Teacher's Contract Dispute Could Be Appointed Soon

At its September 18 meeting, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board will consider the district's request for a fact-finder.

In what could be viewed as a small step towards resolution in , the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) has agreed to consider the district’s request it appoint a mediator to help settle the conflict.

According to a release from the Phoenixville Area School District, the PLRB will mull the district's request at its September 18 meeting. 

The Pennsylvania Bureau of Mediation, an agency that acts as a go-between for the district and the PLRB, told the district that it should meet with the union again before this meeting. The district indicated it would honor the request.

If appointed, the fact-finder would have 40 days to take oral and written testimony from both sides and produce a non-binding recommendation. The union and the district would then have ten days to either accept or reject the entirety of the proposal. If either party rejects the proposal, the negotiations will continue.

According to The Mercury, the Phoenixville Area Education Association, the body that represents the district's teachers, has already made it clear they're not interested in third-party involvement.

“The [Phoenixville Area Education Association] is very disappointed that the district chose this path. [The Phoenixville Area Education Association] believes that after 30 months of negotiations, we were within one bargaining session of settlement,” union spokesman Ruthann Waldie said.

The previous CBA expired on June 30, 2010, but, in accordance with Pennsylvania law, both parties are bound by the terms of the old deal until a new one is struck.

James Smith September 05, 2012 at 12:22 PM
In what could be viewed as delay tactics in the school district's ongoing dispute with its teachers over the terms of a new CBA, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) has agreed to consider the district’s request it appoint a mediator to help settle the conflict, after failing to get the job done over the past 30 months. Phoenixville Area School Board = Incompetence “There has been movement on both side in the last few months,” he said. “We just need one extra pair of eyes.” Paul Slaninka Paul Slaninka should remove his "rose-colored glasses" and look at the numbers in front of him. Stop pushing his job to the feet of others. Can we also have that mediator take a look at our under-performing school board and make some public recommendations.
Dreamer30 September 05, 2012 at 12:54 PM
A big thank you to the teachers for continuing to come to work everyday and teaching our children what matters most.
Gilligan September 05, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Lotta complaints there, Mr. Smith. Why don't you run for school board next year?
James Smith September 05, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Why don't you address my complaints if you disagree? If you want to defend Paul Slaninka, that's your choice. I have made my position clear and I don't agree with the position the school board has taken. I have not heard Paul Slaninka dispute the comments of Ruthann Waldie? If they are so close to an agreement, then why are the mediator's fact findings non-binding? We're are so close, but yet Paul cannot commit either way. Give me a break Gilligan.
Gilligan September 05, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Please call Ruth and let us know what she says (717) 255-7000. I can guarantee she won't have much to say, if anything. The sides are miles apart. She is blowing wind. In years past, the board and admin always caved to the threat of a strike. Fortunately for all the broke taxpayers, that is no longer true. You'll see very soon how generous the district's offer was to the union and they turned it down. The school board was elected by us. It's just about impossible to remove an elected official so deal with them or run for office. Who did you vote for in the last school board election?
Chris September 05, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Mr. Smith....WHAT do you disagree with? The due dilligence of an independent set of eyes? How is that harmful?
James Smith September 05, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Gilligan - I don't have to call Ruthann since she is quoted in the article above. “The [Phoenixville Area Education Association] is very disappointed that the district chose this path. [The Phoenixville Area Education Association] believes that after 30 months of negotiations, we were within one bargaining session of settlement,” union spokesman Ruthann Waldie said. Maybe you should call Paul and find out why he can't get it done? Why he needs an "extra pair of eyes" to make a decision? At who's expense? Why the smoke screen Paul? "In years past ..." Are you back to blaming Rob Frees and Dr. Noyes again? Thank you for that little lesson on civics, I was unaware how voting works. LOL As far as removing elected officials, we were on our way to removing Paul Slaninka in this upcoming election, but Leslie Dengler dropped out after the primary handing Paul another unattested term. I did not vote for Paul Slaninka if that answers your question. Wake up Little Buddy.
James Smith September 05, 2012 at 07:29 PM
It's a non-binding waste of time and money. How was it helpful in Tredyffrin Easttown Chris? Oh, right, the Fact Finders Report was rejected by the T/E School Soard. Sounds very helpful. Watch how fast Paul Slaninka rejects the Fact Finders Report here in Phoenixville. That's if it doesn't exceed 40 day limit and isn't rejected on a technicality first. Paul Slaninka has an ego a mile wide and there is no way he is going to take any suggestions from a third party.
Gilligan September 05, 2012 at 07:58 PM
After 30 months, they were within 1 session? C'mon Skipper. It's not the truth. Call her. The past admins gave the teachers everything they wanted. Look at their $45/month Cadillac healthcare for proof. Don't you think the teachers want to continue that awesome program that the taxpayer picks up the balance of about $3k? Don't you think they want raises retroactive since 2010? They want it. We don't have the money. Paul always votes no to tax increases. All the rest vote yes, but that's another story. Dangle dropped out and that left 5 board members for 5 spots. You would've made 6, but you didn't do it. Stop complaining or run Skip.
Chris September 05, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Sounds like you already have your mind made up. Fair enough. I for one think it is the right step at this point. For all I know the district is offering more than a fair contract or for that matter maybe they're not. Truth is, none of us know for certain so why not get someone independent to take a look?
harry finster September 06, 2012 at 03:13 AM
http://www.scribd.com/doc/55863184/phoenixville2p
DJ2 September 06, 2012 at 10:01 AM
Just out of curiosity, who pays for the salary for this mediator? As a state employee, aren't they paid through tax dollars? Slanika has said they need "one extra set of eyes". Therefore, aren't we using tax payers dollars to do the job that we elected this school board to do? Seems a little ironic, huh? Gilligan: You have to stop telling people they should run for school board if they have criticisms. Either you are on the school board, or you are being a bit hypocritical. I'm also still waiting for you source or a citation on this $45 cadilac plan you always reference, especially since you can give no more details on it in our last debate except a "trust me". Is this a percentage? If so, since the cost of a plan goes up every year, what year did you base your numbers off of? Districts always agree on a percentage, not a set amount. Is it $45 for this year? last? Is this the only plan they offer? Is a married person with a family paying the same amount as a single person? You have claimed it is in the contract and that you've seen it. You must know these details, right? Harry: Can you give us more bibliographical information about that link? It's an interesting read that is so slanted in many places that I would be curious to find out more about it. Honestly, my interpretation of the PLRB's response is they feel the sides are very close and they might not be needed at this point. Otherwise, I would like to think they would be acting a bit faster and stronger.
harry finster September 08, 2012 at 03:00 AM
you have had a jerry sandusky person in your school who instead of sexually abusing kids.he hit,kicked,punched,twisted arms which had been in a cast ,poked pencils in hands he did all this with the tacit approval of the school and in fact was put in your (what should be called wall of shame )
Joe Smith September 13, 2012 at 02:41 PM
the teachers are like spoiled kids they are a bunch of lazy slugs lets bring on vouchers!!!!
Joe Smith September 13, 2012 at 02:44 PM
the college degree they get isn't even worthy of being called a degree they take so many basic classes and fundamentals classes it is almost the same as going to a trade school let em strike, bring in replacement people for 1/3 the cost
Gilligan September 13, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Big Joe. I like most teachers. Their union is the problem. Totally out of touch with reality. You cannot fire a teacher for financial reasons. It's tough to fire them for any reason, but you def can't for financial reasons.

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