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This isn't over?

Post  Admin on Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:08 am

Bus union, school district may be headed back to bargaining table
August 22, 2011

A lawyer representing Penn Hills School District’s laid-off bus drivers said he thinks they have a strong chance of regaining their jobs and receiving back wages if they cannot come to terms on a new contract with the district.

Robert Eberle, who represents members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 1552, said that, despite being laid off, the union’s 97 drivers, mechanics and aides voted last week to accept contract recommendations by a state-appointed fact-finder to show the district that drivers are willing to return to work.

Union members filed a complaint in May with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board challenging the district’s decision that same month to outsource bus services to regional contractor First Student before negotiations on a new contract had been completed.

Eberle said union officials’ position is that the school board acted prematurely in its decision.

Both parties have the right to accept or reject the fact-finder’s report, which states that the concessions offered by the union amounted to a fair contract. If one or both parties reject it — which the school district did on Aug. 10 — it is published online, according to Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industries spokesman Chris Manlove.

“After that, both parties have no less than five and no more than 10 days to give the report a second consideration,” Manlove said. “If the report is rejected again, both sides return to the table, and the bargaining process essentially begins anew.”

If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, Eberle said, a scheduled hearing before the PLRB will take place on Feb. 1, 2012. Eberle said the drivers have a strong case to make at the hearing, pointing to factfinder Thomas Hewitt’s statement in his report that “testimony revealed that the union was willing to make any concessions it could in order to retain their jobs.”

The 10-day reconsideration period ends today (Monday).

If the school district reconsiders and accepts the fact-finder’s report, Hewitt’s recommendations will form the basis of a new contract. If they reject it — which they have been advised to do by district Solicitor Craig Alexander, according to an email from district spokesperson Teresita Kolenchak — negotiations will resume.

“This is a validation of what we’ve been saying all along,” Robert Eberle said.

“We were offering a contract that allowed large cost savings for the district, borne by union members who stepped up to the plate and did their damndest to convince the district to keep transportation in-house.”

Alexander did not return calls for comment.
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Re: This isn't over?

Post  Nosmo King on Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:35 pm

The business manager wanted the drivers gone so badly that he gamboled that the drivers would go away quietly.
If the drivers win this case, then the district will likely have to pay them for several years.
Another case of NO ONE reining in the business manager and allowing him to tell us what is best.
This guy is going to cost Penn Hills a fortune, oops, I'm sorry, he already has.
This guy and his sleazy cabal should be remover in handcuffs.

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