• Thu. May 19th, 2022

Central Bucks support staff return to table in union contract negotiations

A new contract between Central Bucks School District and its support staff union is still at least weeks away after a third-party arbitrator was unable to move stalled negotiations forward.

Members of the Central Bucks Education Support Professional Association have been working without a new contract since June, with talks apparently deadlocked with the district administration for months.

An arbitrator was called in to act as a mediator who would review the situation and give a report with recommendations for the new contract.

Donna DeMarco, educational assistant for Central Bucks East, speaks at a meeting of the Central Bucks School Board, Tuesday, January 11, 2021, speaking about the support staff contract which remains in negotiation since it expired in June.

Central Bucks human resources director Andrea DiDio-Hauber told school board members on Tuesday that the union had declined the arbitrator’s report, which was finalized last month, but negotiations would continue.

“We hope that we are very close and that we will be able to offer a contract that is both in favor of the district and the support staff to provide you with additional information in the weeks to come,” DiDio-Hauber said. .

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Although the details have not been discussed publicly, the impasse appears to be at least partly due to pay increases which employees say must reflect the extra work brought by the pandemic since 2020.

The union had a five-year contract with wage rate increases set before the coronavirus rocked just about every aspect of education.

A copy of the previous union contract available online at www.cbsd.org shows annual salary increases based on projected market rates between the 2016-2017 and 2020-2021 school years.

For example, a nurse who earned less than $25.98 an hour, the market rate for the 2016-2017 school year, would have seen a 3% salary increase for that year, followed by a 3.5% increase for each of the following two schools. years, and an increase of 3.75% in each of the following two school years until the expiry of the contract.

District support workers told this news agency in November that they expected the new contract to take into account any additional responsibilities brought about by the pandemic.

Union President Daneen Dry said on Wednesday that the arbitrator’s recommendations had not quite met members’ expectations.

“After serving our students over these past two difficult years, we know we deserve better. We hope the district and CBESPA continue to work toward a contract resolution,” Dry said.

This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Central Bucks and support staff return to table on union contract