Strike Averted for Now in Peters Township
Following an arbitration hearing between Peters Township Federation of Teachers Local 3421 and Peters Township School District, the three person arbitration panel will determine their decision and reconvene on April 12 to discuss their findings. Once those discussions occur, the panel will have 20 days to make their final recommendation to both teachers’ union and the school district.
The district and union will then be given 10 days to accept or reject the recommendation. Based on this timeline, which is inexact because the arbitration panel has an unlimited amount of time to create its recommendation, there would be no work stoppage by teachers until at least the middle of May, approximately one month prior to the end of the school year.
The sticking point between teachers and the school district has been ongoing since the end of August 2015 and involves healthcare costs and salaries. This is common in union and school district negotiations. The average salary for teachers is above $70,000 annually in Peters. When no agreement was reached in the fall of 2015, teachers walked off the job for three weeks in protest.
Should the arbitration panel’s recommendation be rejected by either side, negotiations can begin again. State law requires the district get in 180 days of school by June 30, so a second strike could not be as long as the first in the fall. There must also be 48 hour notice given before teachers strike. Both sides are hoping the recommendations by the panel are acceptable and a second strike will not be needed.