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Pennsbury Union to Propose Salary, Benefit Concessions

'The union committed to make a hypothetical proposal through the State Mediator in order to try and avoid outsourcing,' Chief Negotiator Jeffrey Sultanik said.

From the Pennsbury School District:

On the evening of February 21, 2013, the Chief Negotiator for the Pennsbury School Board, Jeffrey Sultanik, met with representatives of the District’s support staff union, the Pennsbury Educational Support Professionals Association (PESPA), to continue negotiations toward reaching a settlement on a new contract. The 600+ employees in PESPA have been working under the terms of an expired contract since June, 2011. The last negotiation session held between the two parties occurred on January 30th.

Prior to the latest negotiation session, Mr. Sultanik had shared the cost savings reflected in proposals submitted by outside vendors for subcontracting the services of five employee groups. These included transportation services, which yielded savings ranging from $607,048 to $721,200 per year over five years; cleaning services, with cost savings ranging from $586,445 to $683,843 per year over five years; instructional paraprofessional aides, with savings that ranged from $2,784,520 to $3,697,432 per year over five years; non-instructional paraprofessional aides, with savings ranging from $358,884 to $427,444 per year over five years; and IT support technicians, with savings that ranged from $81,810 to $118,098 per year over five years.

Following the union’s receipt of the detailed results of the vendor proposals and PESPA’s acknowledgment of the potential savings to the District as a result of subcontracting, “a frank discussion took place,” according to Mr. Sultanik. “I shared with them that the only way the Board would not consider subcontracting is if the union is willing to make significant salary and benefit concessions,” he said. “As a result of the discussion, the union committed to make a hypothetical proposal through the State Mediator in order to try and avoid outsourcing.” With regard to the five employee subgroups considered for outsourcing, Mr. Sultanik added that one discussion point at the table was that “the calculation for savings in the area of transportation is arguably the least beneficial to the District because the numbers include the sale of the existing bus fleet.”

Pennsbury Business Administrator, Dan Rodgers, will provide an in-depth presentation offering details on all of the outsourcing proposal calculations at the March 7th School Board Agenda meeting. His presentation will also include a breakdown of the assumptions made in order to  arrive at the savings calculations. The public meeting will begin at 8:00 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at Fallsington Elementary School.

Several Pennsbury administrators attended the bargaining session with Mr. Sultanik to answer questions if needed. They were Business Administrator Dan Rodgers, Human Resources Director Bettie Ann Rarrick, and Joanne Godzieba, Director of Financial Services. Present at the meeting to represent PESPA were UNISERV representatives Greg Moll and Brad Gross, PESPA President Gary McClure, and PESPA members Marla Lipkin, Denise Hacker, and Brian Russell. State Mediator John Cairns was also in attendance.

The next negotiation session between the Board Negotiator and PESPA is scheduled for April 3rd at 6:00 p.m

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