Lehigh Valley

Glimmer of hope in Saucon Valley contract dispute?

Negotiators for school board and teachers union plan Sunday session

LOWER SAUCON TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Negotiators attempting to resolve a long contract dispute in Saucon Valley School District have scheduled a meeting for Sunday afternoon.

Atty. Jeffrey Sultanik, who represents the district, said the meeting was scheduled at the request of Rick Simononis, chief negotiator for the teachers union.

Sultanik said the school board's negotiators will be going into that session with the "express understanding" that the Saucon Valley Education Association will be submitting a new proposal, not just reiterating its last proposal.

"The board interprets this to mean that the association's last proposal, contrary to the position of the association, was not a 'final' proposal as advertised by the union's attorney," said Sultanik.

He also stressed "that the board's willingness to meet with the association on Sunday should not be construed to mean that the board has deviated from its position that any contract settlement needs to utilize the fact-finder's recommendation as a reference point.

"The board remains hopeful that the association will submit a proposal that is more consistent with the school district's employment marketplace."

Sultanik said the union's so-called final proposal demands compensation increases of 6.6 percent in 2012-13, 6.1 percent in 2013-14 and 6.2 percent in 2014-15.

The board's proposal percentages are zero for 2012-13 and 2013-14, 5.1 percent in 2014-15 and 8.6 percent in 2015-16.

"The key is that the top wage in the union's so-called final proposal in year 2015-16 is $104,753 and in the fact finders proposal it is $94,022," said the district lawyer.

He added the union's proposal calls for no change in employee health benefit contributions.

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