Bucks teachers union plans to strike

Posted: May 27, 2012

Teachers in Bucks County’s Neshaminy School District, nearing the end of their fourth year with­out a con­tract agree­ment, will strike June 4 un­less bar­gain­ing set for next week makes suf­fi­cient pro­gress to change their minds, union officials said Fri­day.

The con­tract im­passe in the 8,800-stu­dent dis­trict is the longest-running in Penn­syl­van­ia.

"If the May 31 negotiations pro­duce no move­ment from the dis­trict, we have determined this is our best course of ac­tion to reach a con­tract," Lou­ise Boyd, president of the 630-mem­ber Neshaminy Federation of Teachers, said in a state­ment. "Wheth­er or not we strike is re­al­ly in the dis­trict’s hands now."

If teachers do stage a strike, it would be their sec­ond this year; they went out in Jan­u­ary for eight days. By state law, the stop­page would be lim­it­ed to the amount of time needed for students to re­ceive 180 days of in­struc­tion by June 30; that would be about 10 days by the school board’s reckoning. School is scheduled to end June 15 if there is no strike.

School board President Ritch­ie Webb said in a state­ment: "I am outraged that teachers would cause po­ten­tial dis­rup­tion to our children’s school year and sum­mer va­ca­tion."

The two sides re­main far apart on a host of issues, including wages and health-care payments. Earlier this month, an ar­bi­tra­tor issued recommendations for a con­tract agree­ment that were intended to serve as the ba­sis for a set­tle­ment. The school board rejected them; the union members ac­cept­ed them "with reservations."

Con­tact Dan Har­dy at 610-313-8134, dhardy@phillynews.com, or fol­low on Twit­ter @DanInq.

Inquirer staff writ­er Bill Reed contributed to this ar­ti­cle.

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