In 2008, the School Board proposed a 3-year term with 1% increases to the salary schedule and health care contributions of 15-17% while eliminating an early retirement package. Had that offer been accepted it would have ended last school year, salaries would have increased to $98,830, not a single teacher would have missed a step in the salary schedule, and certified employees would contribute less than $350 pre-tax per month for full family coverage – $150 a month for individual coverage.
Instead, NFT negotiators created their own reality in a 6-year term that would have increased salaries to $121,000, maintained 0% health care contributions, and kept intact an unprecedented retirement package including $30,000 cash payout and free benefits for self, spouse, and dependents until age 65. Even though they met for numerous negotiation sessions, that offer remained the only NFT proposal on the table for 2 years. It was during this time that the union president was quoted as saying contributing to health care was taking a pay cut. This was the active proposal when Work to Contract was initiated.
The NFT was demanding $121,000 salaries and free health care when the class of 2010 graduated without their teachers in attendance.
It wasn't until September of 2010 that the second NFT proposal was delivered. A 5 year term, with two years in the past creating over $11 Million in retro-raises, increasing salaries to $111,000, contributing 0% to health care, and maintaining the early retirement package. This was the offer in place when many of us were greeted by empty chairs on Back to School Night and remained the active proposal for the duration of Work to Contract.
In fact, it wasn't until June of 2011, three years later, when the Board's initial proposal was set to expire, that the NFT proposal was delivered with a fixed 8% contribution. It included millions in retro-raises, increased salaries to $108,000, and kept the full retirement package.
44% of the teachers were already at max salary and had no increases due them in these past 3 years. Did the 245 other members willingly sacrifice $20,000 of their own raises so that those who came before them didn't have to pay for health care?
We've recently heard new concerns over class sizes and equal say. If you were to study the CBAs of the top 5 districts in the State you would notice that none of them specify class sizes in their contracts. Upper St Claire, Unionville/Chaddsford, Tredyffrin/Eastown, Radnor, and North Allegheny each maintain final authority in matters of managerial policy and with all formed committees. Additionally, they all have at least 15 steps and had phased out Masters Equivalency (MEQ) as long ago as 1973.
This impasse has uncovered many difficult realities but this community continues to rise up in response to them. We have demonstrated our desire to stand firm for a reasonable contract and we thank the Board for standing firm with us.
2008: CBA term expires. Teachers work under the terms of the old contract until a new agreement is reached.
May 2008: Board delivers its initial proposal to the NFT community. Changes include more steps to maximum salary, employee contributions to health insurance, elimination of retirement bonus, and elimination of longevity pay.
May 2008: NFT delivers its initial proposal to the board. Demands include $121,000 salaries, retirement bonus increased to $30,000, and continuation of free health care even in retirement.
2009-2010: NFT community "encourages" WTC action by teachers in two consecutive school years.
Aug 2010: NFT delivers a counter proposal that includes changes to the health plan but maintains 0% employee contributions. Maintains free insurance in retirement, retirement cash, and continues longevity bonuses. Over $11M in retropay expected.
Nov 2010: NFT members vote to suspend WTC. NFT leadership obtains the services of a PR firm to help repair public image. No movement on health care contributions, health care in retirement, retirement cash, or raises to raises.
2011: NFT proposes 8% FIXED contribution to health care, continues request for $5M+ retropay, keeps benefits into retirement, raises salaries over $105,000.
Jan 2012: NFT executes 8-day strike
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