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Still no contract for school workers

June 03, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Support staff in the Chambersburg Area School District remain without a contract after the Board of School Directors voted Wednesday night to reject a report by a fact-finder from the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.

"Back to the negotiating table," Support Personnel Association President Cindy Stoner said after the board voted 5-2 to reject the fact-finder's report. She said a vote in favor of the report would have ratified a contract.

The union is asking for increases of 3 percent to 4 percent over a five-year period retroactive to 1997. Support staff has not gotten a pay raise during that time because the contract is being negotiated, Stoner said.

"In the contract we have a step increase, which is an increment plus a percentage increase. They only wanted us to take a percentage," Stoner said about the board's position.

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"The proposed rate of increase has to be ironed out," Board President D. Eugene Gayman said.

He said there are other issues that need to be resolved that could affect the ability of the district to manage its support personnel.

Stoner said members of the union, which represents secretaries, aides, clerks, computer technicians and other workers, have been negotiating with the district since April 1997. In late 1996, 68 support personnel voted to be represented by the Pennsylvania State Education Association's Educational Support Personnel Group.

Before that, support staff members were considered "at-will" employees hired individually without contracts, she said.

There are 147 support personnel in the district, Stoner said. If a contract is approved, Stoner said it will apply to all the support staff, not just those who joined the union.

Prior to the board vote, Stoner noted that the starting wage for a secretary with computer skills is just three cents above the minimum wage of $5.15 per hour, compared to $7.32 for starting janitors.

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