The Herald, Sharon, PA Published Saturday, November 2, 2002

Teachers tire of slow pace of negotiations

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

With negotiations going into their 11th month, Farrell teachers are not happy with the pace of the talks, said union President Ron Reed.

But, while the district and teachers take opposing viewpoints on financial issues, Reed said he hopes the contract can be resolved without the teachers resorting to a strike.

"We want it to be a win-win-situation," he said.

The 95-member Farrell Teachers Association has talked about striking, but have not set a strike date.

The union has never held a strike, and Reed said he's not out to break that record.

"We don't find strikes good for anybody," he said. "We've been trying not to talk strike. It's not what we want to be doing."

Negotiations remain friendly between the sides, and a mediator has been sitting in on discussions for the past month, Reed said.

"There has been some movement," he said of the last bargaining session Monday. But discussions focused on non-monetary issues, such as staff development and contract language.

"It just wasn't what we're looking for," Reed said. "We have the same hang-ups that everybody has -- salaries."

Teachers want to improve the regular salary scale and wages for teacher participation in extracurricular activities, Reed said.

The teachers acknowledge the district's financial problems, Reed said, but "We feel we're equal to the other teachers in the valley in districts that are not distressed," he said.

The school board built a salary increase into the budget, but directors have not said what that percentage is.

Negotiators next meet Thursday.

The previous five-year contract ended June 30, and the teachers have been working under an extension of that pact.

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