Bethel Park

Federation of Teachers

 
Welcome to the official website of the Bethel Park Federation of Teachers, Local #1607, American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania, American Federation of Teachers, a Union of Professionals, serving the Bethel Park School District in our community of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.


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American Federation of Teachers - Pennsylvania
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American Federation of Teachers

A Union of Professionals


October 7, 2013
Bethel Park Teachers Accept Fact-Finders’ Report

Bethel Park Federation of Teachers members voted last night to accept a fact-finder’s report, which if approved by the school board, will become the basis for of a new, six-year collective bargaining agreement.
The new contract would run from June 2010 through June 2016. The Bethel Park School Board must also approve the agreement.

Diann Smith, BPFT president, said, “An agreement allows the district and the union to put this protracted negotiation behind us and refocus our attention on providing Bethel Park students with the best education possible.”

“We were disappointed with the negative impact that some of the fact-finder’s recommendations will have on the students in Bethel Park,” Smith added.


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September 1, 2013

BPFT, BPSD Begins Fact-Finding

 

The Bethel Park Federation of Teachers received word following negotiations on August 21 that the district requested fact-finding, a process that had been completed in the spring of 2012 but failed to result in a contract with both sides rejecting the recommendation. The fact-finder has been appointed and the process will involve both sides presenting a proposal.

 

School Board President, Donna Cook, commented at the board meeting on August 27 that the District had brought several proposals to the union's negotiating team for consideration, but it is only the negotiating team that can share a proposal with their membership. The BPFT negotiating team is not aware of what "proposals" to which she refers. The last true table position was presented to the members a year ago. After much prodding throughout the 2012-2013 year for a table position, the district did present a table position in May 2013 but included a clause that they reserve the right to submit a proposal for class size pending the decision by the arbitrator which has not yet been received. You cannot vote on "parts" of a proposal. It must be done as a comprehensive document; therefore, by not including the unresolved Class Size issue, a vote could not be taken prior to the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

 

This past summer there were no table positions offered by the district. The mediator requested that he "mediate" and went back and forth between sides sharing possibilities, “if this ... then can you..." The four summer sessions were all sidebar discussions which are not official positions because they are contingent upon other articles being negotiated and cannot be brought forth for voting until all outstanding articles are addressed in an official package. That did not occur. The summer sessions were spent discussing economics/benefits. There was no new table position offered by the District.

 

The district states at their monthly meetings that they will not negotiate in public, yet they make comments that are inaccurate and lead members to believe that the federation’s negotiating team members are not forthright. There is no reason for the team to withhold information from its members. The federation's negotiating team members, all active teachers in the district, do not get paid for their time as negotiators and also have a stake in this process. All BPFT members want a contract that does not result in the loss of teaching positions, does not eliminate class size maximums, and does not result in a net loss of salary based on the expired contract (2010).

 

Mrs. Rose is quoted in the Almanac (August 28, 2013) as saying, "The district is eager to get this resolved and we believe that fact-finding will help us move off center and keep the momentum moving forward." We believe the objective for negotiations is for each side to move towards the center. By moving towards the center, progress will be possible. In negotiations, when one side is the only one moving towards the center, you cannot expect the end result to be fair or balanced.

 

In an article on August 30, The Pittsburgh Tribune Review identified Bethel Park Teachers as having the ninth lowest average salary in Allegheny County (PA portal lists 45 school districts in Allegheny County). Every other district is under the same state economic constraints, so why are the surrounding districts able to settle contracts that are fair for the teachers and the communities and not take 4 years to do so? The statement by a BP board member at a public meeting that they have offered the teachers a “lucrative” proposal is preposterous.

 

Although the teachers in Bethel Park are the ninth lowest paid in Allegheny County, The Pittsburgh Business Times 2013 ranked Bethel Park School District #13 out of 104 school districts in a seven county area.

 

The professional staff, secretaries, and paraprofessional/aide staff members continue to do an outstanding job even during this difficult situation. All three units listed above will begin classes on Tuesday, September 3 without a contract.

 

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Negotiations Update
August 22, 2013

Four negotiation sessions were held over the summer months (July 18, July 25, August 14, and August 21). Progress was made during those sessions and the state mediator scheduled two additional dates before the session adjourned yesterday. Several hours after the session concluded, the Federation was notified that the District filed a request for fact-finding.... The negotiation team was surprised by this move as no discussions were held regarding this approach.

The state mediator has been present at all negotiation sessions since the spring of 2010. The Federation has been committed to settling the labor dispute at the table. We hope that the request by the District for fact-finding does not further delay progress at the table. The Federation and its members have been preparing for the start of a new school year while also trying to reach a fair and equitable contract.

In addition to the professional staff working without a contract since July 2010, the secretaries and paraprofessional/aide units will also begin this school year without a contract. All units will be continuing to work under status quo.

Standing Up for Quality Education in Bethel Park



For Bethel Park Federation of Teachers, providing a quality education for our students is our top priority. We care for their learning, well-being, and future success.

 

As professionals teaching in a challenging time for our public schools, we find we must sometimes make tough decisions, and take difficult actions, for what we believe is in the best interest of the schools and the children we teach.

We understand that these are tough economic times for many in our community. Yet, we firmly believe that the road to a more prosperous economy that benefits all Americans starts in the education and preparation of our children.  We know that a quality education holds the surest promise of a successful future for them.


We know, too, that students learn best in classrooms with highly-qualified teachers. The Bethel Park Federation of Teachers stands united for a fair and quick resolution to the current difficult negotiations, so we can get back to school and back to work. Please stand with us as we strive towards this goal.


We are standing tall for quality public schools. We are standing tall for Bethel Park's children because they deserve the best future we can deliver.

 


Message from the President

OUR UNITED EFFORT

Diann Smith
BPFT President

 

Our organization is comprised of highly-qualified teachers, librarians, counselors, speech therapists, school psychologists, nurses, paraprofessionals, teacher aides, and secretaries. Together, our goal is to ensure that each child reaches his or her potential in a safe, nurturing, and rigorous learning environment. I am honored to serve this extraordinary group as president.

Currently I am leading our bargaining team.  The team is working on behalf of our professional staff for a fair and equitable contract with the District to ensure our teachers' expertise will be put to its greatest benefit in the classroom.

Everyone's future depends on its schools to prepare students for success in life. Our united effort translates to the very best education for our community's children.



Stand With Us!

Please Sign Our Petition to the BPSD Board of Directors

and Show Your Support Today

 

Tell the School Board you want regularly scheduled negotiations.

 

In negotiations with the Bethel Park School District, teachers and educators are advocating for the educational excellence that our community has come to expect and our students deserve.

Teachers are standing up for issues that impact student learning. READ MORE, TAKE ACTION>>