Workplace Mediation Expected for NJ Teachers, School Board
A New Jersey school district and its teachers have been unable to reach an agreement, and workplace mediation is expected.
The New Jersey Education Association and the Parsippany Board of Education have been trying and failing to reach an agreement, with both sides admitting that further talks are hopeless without mediation.
NJEA rep Douglas Finkel says that the groups are in a "holding pattern," with each other, and that mediation services are the next step. He says that a mediator is currently being assigned, and that talks may resume again in September.
Workplace Mediation for Teachers: What do They Want?
The NJEA wants its members to receive pay raises to compensate for increasing cost of living. While the Board does not want to give pay raises this year, it will concede to a 2% pay raise.
But the Association says that what the school board wants, amounts to a decrease in pay, when you consider that teachers are expected to pay more for their healthcare over the next several years.
The district wants teachers to take on a bigger percentage of their insurance costs with each year. Even a 2% wage increase per year would be a loss for teachers when you factor in health care increases, Finkel claims. The health care issue will most likely loom large in this case of workplace mediation.
Finding Common Ground via Mediation
Finkel says he knows that the Board of Education's position is not an easy one. He acknowledges that they are under budgetary constraints.
At the same time, however, he says that teachers can't afford to take what would amount to a pay cut--especially as the cost of living in the U.S. is increasing.
"The trick is finding common ground," Finkel said. "Hopefully, the mediator will find that ground."
Workplace mediation between the groups is expected to take place in September.