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Contract dispute continues

August 27, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - More than 270 Waynesboro-area teachers were not happy about returning to work this week without a contract, said Michael Engle, president of the Waynesboro Education Association.

Engle is on the team representing the teachers in talks that started in January with the school board.

The teachers' three-year contract expired on June 30. Little progress has been made in the nearly nine months the negotiations have been under way, Engle said.

Since May, a mediator from the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, called in by the negotiators, has been sitting in on the talks. The mediator serves in an advisory capacity only. Recommendations made by the mediator are nonbinding.

Lawrence M. Glenn, a school board member on the board's negotiating team, said Thursday that while some progress has been made, "we haven't been able to agree on all points."

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Glenn said he hopes an accord is reached by the end of the fall semester.

Salary and language are key issues keeping the sides apart, an official close to the talks said.

Although the budget was passed on time in the spring, the lack of a new contract, which would include any new teacher raises, made it more difficult for the board to figure out its 1998-99 finances.

Glenn said the issue of raises being retroactive to July 1, the day a new contract would have taken effect, is still a matter for negotiation.

Teachers in Waynesboro walked out for four days in 1992 over a contract dispute.

Glenn said the talks have been amicable so far.

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