Editor's note: the following release was provided by the Phoenixville Area School District.
The Phoenixville Area School District Board of School Directors (“PASD” or “District”) has been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement (“contract”) with the Phoenixville Area Education Association (“PAEA”) for the past 30 months. On August 24, 2012, the District filed a request with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (“PLRB”) to appoint a Fact Finder to help the parties reach agreement on a new contract. Yesterday, the PLRB granted the District’s request and appointed a Fact Finder.
Pursuant to the PLRB’s directive, a state mediator met with both parties on Monday evening for several hours in an attempt to secure a settlement. Although both groups worked diligently toward resolution, because differences remained between the two sides, the state mediator recommended to the PLRB that it approve the District’s request for Fact Finding.
The contract under which the parties are currently operating expired on June 30, 2010. Since that time, and until a new collective bargaining agreement is finalized, the parties must continue to abide by the terms and conditions of the expired contract. Under Pennsylvania law, this is called status quo.
Here is some information about the Fact Finding process:
- Both sides must submit a summary of issues in dispute to the Fact Finder within five days
- The Fact Finder will conduct a hearing no later than mid-October and will take oral and written testimony from both parties
- During this process, if the parties so choose, negotiations may continue
- If a new agreement is not reached in the interim, the Fact Finder will make non-binding recommendations and send a written report to both parties within 40 days of the Fact Finder’s appointment
- Each party must either accept (in whole) or reject (in whole) the Fact Finder’s recommendations within ten (10) days of the report being issued
- If either party rejects the recommendations, the report is made public
- Between 5 and 10 days after the publication of the report, the parties shall again inform the PLRB and each other whether or not they will accept the recommendations
- If either party rejects the recommendations, the negotiations process continues
The District will continue to keep you apprised of developments in this process.