Saucon Valley School Board Says Contract Settlement Unlikely in ‘Foreseeable Future’April 15, 2015 – In The News
Jeffrey Sultanik was quoted in the Lehigh Valley Live article, “Saucon Valley School Board Says Contract Settlement Unlikely in 'Foreseeable Future'.” Full text can be found in the April 15, 2015, issue, but a synopsis is noted below.
The teachers of Saucon Valley voted to authorize a strike, which was approved easily by the Saucon Valley Education Association. This occurred after they were not granted a voting extension for the board’s most recent contract proposal and a resulting vote against the past proposal from October 2014.
District labor attorney, Jeffrey Sultanik said, “All the association allegedly did is voted on an expired board proposal and essentially indicated that they need a more generous collective-bargaining agreement than the board's bottom line.”
Sultanik does not believe a settlement will be reached soon since both parties differ greatly in their positions. He stated, “Though the board recognizes that discussion is often good, the parties are so far apart in their positions that a settlement does not appear to be remotely achievable in the foreseeable future.”
He also said that Saucon Valley is unsure of how the union votes were conducted and counted.
The board is worried that the teacher union’s current leaders have “created unrealistic bargaining expectations” for rank-and-file members, according to Sultanik.
Sultanik also said that, from the board’s perspective, the teachers did not really give the recent contract proposal a chance. Therefore, the board was disappointed in the leadership of the union for allowing the strike to be authorized, added Sultanik.
The teachers obviously are asking for more money if they reject the newest February proposal. Sultanik elaborated and said, “Such a monetary proposal has virtually no support on the part of the board and I remain very skeptical whether or not a bargaining session or sessions will ever be able to bridge what is now a significant gap between the association's demands and the board's October 8, 2014, proposal.”