The collective bargaining disagreement might be drawing to a close.
In what could mark a détente in the ongoing CBA dispute between the Phoenixville Area School District and its teachers union, the school board voted 6-3 on November 12 to accept the recommendations of the independent mediator it requested.
On October 26, the board had rejected the same proposal by a 6-2 vote and on November 1 the Phoenixville Area Education Association did the same.
In accordance with the terms of the appointment of the mediator, now that the school board has approved the recommendations in full, if the union follows suit, the new CBA will be put in place, ending over 30 months of negotiations.
It’s unclear how or when the association will vote. (A second vote on the recommendation is required by law.) A call to union spokesman Ruthann Waldie was not returned as of press time.
School board president Paul Slaninka said the board initially voted no because “there were some ambiguities in the report and we were not comfortable accepting it as written,” according to a release from the district.
Though Slaninka said the board never got the clarification it sought on specific points in fact finder Diana S. Mulligan’s proposal, it finally approved it to send a message to the union: it’s ready to get this done.
“[The education association] thought it was a good basis for a contract,” Slaninka told The Phoenix. “So let’s do it.”
Board members Joshua Gould, Kenneth Butera and Irfan Kahn voted against the recommendation.