Mamaroneck Schools and Teachers Union at Impasse; Mediator to be Appointed
16 Mar, 2012
By Polly Kreisman
Why do these emails always show up after school has closed on Friday afternoon?
Parents in the Mamaroneck School District learned Friday afternoon that face to face negotiations between the School Board and the Mamaroneck Teachers’ Union are at an impasse, and will have to go before a State appointed mediator. Like many unions in this country, a major sticking point appears to be with the establishment of a new Tier structure retirement plan.
At least 18 retired District employees have pensions of over $100,000 a year, as we reported back in May.
Here is the text of the email:
Dear Community Members,
As many of you are aware, the Board of Education and the Mamaroneck Teachers’ Association (“MTA”) have been engaged in collective bargaining for a new agreement for almost a year. The current agreement between the parties expired on June 30, 2011. Since last April, the District negotiating team has met with the MTA nearly 20 times.
The Board approached these negotiations with the goal of reaching a fair and equitable settlement. We reviewed the relevant financial data with the administration and counsel to understand both the short and long term financial needs of the District. Our review indicated a critical need to slow down the growth of the single greatest factor impacting the District’s budget: teacher wage and benefit costs. Addressing this cost factor is essential to enable the District to achieve a sustainable model of compensation into the future.
Despite the parties’ best efforts, the Board of Education and the MTA have mutually concluded that continued “face to face” negotiations at this time will leave the parties no closer to a deal. At this point we are still far apart on issues relating to wages and slowing down the growth of salaries, on contributions and changes to health and prescription drug coverage, on phasing out a retirement award that provides 25% of salary at retirement, and on time/scheduling issues that would allow the District to make efficiencies and increase student contact time with teachers. As a result, the parties have jointly filed for impasse and will seek the assistance of a New York State appointed mediator. The mediation process will begin early next month.
The Board respects and values the dedication and hard work performed by members of the MTA in educating the children of this community. We also have a responsibility to achieve a settlement that is fair and reasonable for our taxpayers while preserving excellent education for our students. While the parties are still far apart, and mediation is not binding in New York, the Board is hopeful that we will reach a mutually agreeable settlement. We will continue to work hard to achieve a fair and just result for all concerned.
We thank you for the opportunity to serve the community and look forward to your continued support of our efforts.
Mamaroneck School District
Board of Education
Robin Nichinsky, President
Nancy Pierson, Vice President
photo: Don Sutherland