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Contract Negotiations Update #6

United Teachers of Northport
Update # 6
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The UTN Negotiations Team met with District representatives (Superintendent McDermott, Assistant Superintendent Bouton, Board Trustees Liz Dragone and Rob Ingraham, as well as Board Counsel John Gross) yesterday, Monday, April 12th. Again, the UTN arrived at the session ready and willing to discuss the District’s Proposal #1 and UTN counterproposal. By their own admission, the District is “UNWILLING” to entertain anything other than their original “take it or leave it” deal. A deal which does not safeguard all positions.

While the UTN is fully cognizant of the current economic climate, it is also aware that many districts are entering into contract negotiations with savings and long-term planning involved. Although the UTN remains committed to discussion of such ideas, the District maintains its unwillingness to discuss anything other than their first proposal. No other deals have been reached wherein teachers have been asked to accept an ABSOLUTE FREEZE of zero increment and zero salary increase FOR ONLY ONE YEAR WITH NO OTHER YEARS INVOLVED. Such a scenario would place all teachers in a position where they would be harmed, in perpetuity, by being frozen on their current step for at least another year.

It remains quite clear that the District has created a situation whereby teachers are being made the scapegoat of their unwillingness to approach the bargaining table with a reasonable, open mind and with true intent to participate in meaningful dialogue. What has been portrayed by the District as typical in other districts (seeking a “hard freeze”), is simply not the case. Other teacher units on Long Island who have agreed to a zero salary increase have not given up incremental step. As recently as today, a settlement was reached in a neighboring district wherein the teachers agreed to forego their salary increase for the 2010-2011 school year, while maintaining increment, in exchange for the addition of two years to their existing contract. Their contract now extends to June 2014 with a 3% salary increase plus increment in each of the additional years of 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. Furthermore, an attractive retirement incentive will be offered in specific years of the agreement. In this situation, collaboration between teachers and administration has allowed for the development of, and agreement to, a mutually beneficial contract extension.

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