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Waynesboro Area School District's teachers authorize strike

Waynesboro Area Education Association also voted to accept a state-assigned fact-finder's report

May 09, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Years of contract disagreements have prompted the Waynesboro Area School District’s teachers to authorize a strike.

The teachers took a strike-authorization vote Wednesday afternoon, but their leadership would not release potential dates for a strike.

The Waynesboro Area Education Association, which represents about 278 teachers, also voted to accept a state-assigned fact-finder’s report issued as part of contract negotiations.

The teachers and school board members first met at the bargaining table more than two years ago, before the last teacher contract expired June 30, 2010.

By accepting the fact-finding report, the teacher union said its recommendations could serve as the basis for a new contract.

The school board, however, rejected that same report Tuesday by an 8-1 vote. It is expected to take a second vote on the report next week.

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“The law requires a five- to 10-day ‘cooling-off period,’ and the rejecting side is to vote again,” board member Chris Lind said.

Lind said he would not comment on what was recommended in the fact-finding report until both sides had notified the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board of their decisions.

The report, which is expected to be made public today, is the second in the contract dispute. The first one from fact-finder Alex Kaschock in late 2010 met a similar fate — it was approved by the teachers and rejected by the school board.

In a telephone interview Wednesday evening, Lind said he was not surprised the teachers approved the new report.

“It’s the best deal they can get,” he said.

A statement from the Waynesboro Area Education Association indicated the teachers did not feel the fact-finder’s recommendations were an ideal solution.

“While WAEA feels as if the report favors the board, the membership voted to accept it to move forward for the sake of our students and community. ... We would like to put the past behind us and move forward,” the statement said.

The union is asking its supporters to call school board members in hopes it will accept the report on a second vote.

The teachers are legally required to provide the district’s administration with 48 hours notice prior to striking. They had authorized a strike at the end of 2010, but did not act on it.

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