LST Council Approves New 4-Year Employee Contract

By a 3-1 vote, Lower Saucon Township Council approved a four-year non-uniformed employee contract retroactive to May 1, 2015 on Wednesday. The contract covers the township’s public works and other non-uniformed employees, and grants them a 3.75 percent wage increase in year one, a 3.5 percent increase in year two, a 3.25 percent increase in year three and a three percent increase in the fourth and final year. It also increases their contribution amounts to the township’s pension fund by increments of 1 to 1.5 percent through 2019. The contract was negotiated without a union, since the township’s non-uniformed employees “dropped the union and came up with their own employee association,” councilwoman Priscilla deLeon noted. The association had ratified the agreement prior to Wednesday’s council vote.

School Board Narrowly Approves New Teacher Contract

With a single vote Tuesday night, the Saucon Valley School Board brought to an end more than three years of often-contentious negotiations and approved a new six-year professional contract for the district’s 180-plus teachers. The professional agreement was included in the agenda for the meeting, which is posted online on the school district website (see p. 92). The vote in favor of it was far from a mandate for teachers, however, with the board split 5-4. “We’ve gone too far as a board” in terms of compromising with the Saucon Valley Education Association–the union that represents the teachers–board member Bryan Eichfeld said. He criticized the agreement in comparison to an earlier, less costly “bottom-line proposal” that the board floated in February and later withdrew.

What’s Behind Saucon Teacher Contract Settlement Proposal?

The following statement was issued by Saucon Valley School Board attorney Jeff Sultanik Sunday. It follows news late last week that after a three-and-a-half-year contract dispute, the school board and the district’s teachers’ union–the Saucon Valley Education Association–have reached a settlement agreement. Teachers reportedly voted to accept that agreement Aug. 27, and the board is scheduled to vote on it at its Sept. 8 meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. in the high school Audion room.

3-Year SVSD Labor Dispute Could Nearly Be Over

Note: This story has been updated with additional information. The new school year in Saucon Valley School District is less than a week old, and many parents will no doubt be relieved to hear that a three-and-a-half-year teacher contract dispute in the district could nearly be over. Officials on both sides announced late Friday that a tentative agreement between teachers and the school district has been reached, although details about the agreement are not yet being made public. School board attorney Jeff Sultanik said in an emailed statement to local media outlets that “teachers have already voted to approve the agreement on Aug. 27 and the school board will be voting on the agreement on Tuesday evening at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting.”

School Board Votes Down Arbitrator’s Teacher Contract Proposal

The Saucon Valley School Board voted 6-2 to reject the teacher contract proposal proffered by arbitrator Timothy J. Brown, Esq., Tuesday, potentially increasing the likelihood that labor strife could disrupt the new school year. School board member Ralph Puerta began the meeting by explaining the board’s rationale for the “no” vote on the proposal, which board attorney Jeff Sultanik said Friday is more than $4 million costlier than the board’s latest proposal. According to Puerta, in the board’s most generous contract offer to date teacher salaries would increase to between $48,000 and approximately $97,000. Under the arbitrator’s proposal, they would increase to between $50,000 and approximately $102,000, he said. “The salary has to be consistent with the abilities of our school district and we simply are not a Parkland School District—we do not have that kind of current wealth here,” he said.

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Arbitrator’s Contract Proposal Costlier, Confusing, SVSB Solicitor Says

A state arbitrator’s non-binding contract proposal is both costlier than the school board’s final best offer and confusing in some ways, Saucon Valley School Board solicitor Jeff Sultanik said in an email following the issuance of Timothy J. Brown’s recommendations late last week. On Friday, Sultanik said in an emailed statement to the media that he would not be making specific comments about the proposal until Aug. 25, because he had not yet had “a full and fair opportunity to meet with the entire board to elicit their thoughts regarding the recommendations.” However, he said “number crunching” the recommendations resulted in information being shared with the board, which is expected to vote on the proposal at its meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.

“Factoring in step movement, but not column movement, the total dollar difference between the board’s last best offer and the arbitrator’s recommendations amounts to $4,320,260,” Sultanik said. “The difference in dollars between the board’s Feb.