Greenwich Public Schools teachers last negotiated their contract before the economic downturn. But faced with budget cuts across the board, they face a whole new ball game, said Cathy Delehanty, president of the Greenwich Teachers Association .
We have a contract thats been in existence for nearly three years, said Delehanty. The idea is well enter into discussions to get the best settlement we can get for our teachers and what the town is able to deal with. We have to see how everything plays out.
Peter Sherr, chair of the Board of Education's Negotiations Committee, will lead the subcommittee through the bargaining process, which will begin in June for the 2012-15 contract. Sherr will begin to hold executive sessions after April 7 to plan contract proposals. If the contract was not settled, the association and the Board of Education would enter mediation in late July or early August. If no agreement was reached then, the contract would go into binding arbitration the end of August or the beginning of September.
Binding arbitration rules of Connecticut keep it on a pretty short timeline, which is a good thing, said Delehanty. It helps keep contracts fair and equitable between district and the union, and always keeps teachers in the building where they want to be.
Delehanty said the union and the Board of Education have had a cordial relationship in the past, despite some disagreements. I feel we had very collaborative negotiations in the last round, she said. Well have to wait and see and what happens this time.
The teachers pension is state-regulated and has been bonded for 25 years. No significant changes have been recently made to health care for teachers except, except to offer the high-deductible Health Savings Account, which costs the district less and offers lower premiums for the individual. Current contracts do not include a wage freeze but that may change. Delehanty said all options are considered open.
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