Arbitrator Categorizes Teacher Union Demands as Unreasonable
Saturday, September, 6, 2014
The contract dispute in the Old Forge School District in Pennsylvania and the teacher’s union continues to elude any settlement, as the arbitrator assigned to the dispute recently stated that the union demands were so unreasonable they might cause the entire school district to shut down. The arbitrator’s comments followed a review of the “Last, Best” offers from each side.
The arbitrator’s comments almost assure that the teacher’s union will reject the arbitration ruling when it is rendered. According to the terms of the arbitration agreement, both sides have 10 days in which to reject the ruling, after which it becomes the contract between the two. If the union rejects the ruling, they can either begin negotiations again or go out on strike to try and force the district to meet their demands. The teacher’s union struck as recently as 2013, holding out for three weeks and leading directly into the non-binding arbitration process.
The arbitrator referred to the district’s economic problems and stated that the district simply cannot acquiesce to the demands of the teacher’s union. The district is currently operating on a deficit as it is. The teacher’s union, however, argues that this deficit is due to mismanagement by the district and should not be solved by denying teacher’s adequate benefits and pay raises.
The entire union of 68 teachers will vote on the ruling, and can vote to accept it despite the recommendation of the union itself. However, expectations are that they will vote to reject the ruling.