Teacher contract negotiations in Scranton

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Thursday night, the Scranton School District was in contract negotiations with the Scranton Federation of Teachers.

There have been several protests this week ahead of Thursday night’s meeting, with union members saying they’re holding firm to their demands.

Scranton Federation of Teachers say they’re seeing red over going into yet another school year without securing a contract, as well as how the financial recovery plan has impacted their work environment and the students’ learning environment.

The Scranton Federation of Teachers protested outside the union building Thursday afternoon, as union leaders prepared for scheduled contract negotiations with the Scranton School District. SFT teachers and paraprofessionals say they have not had a contract or a raise in five years. Key items on the table: healthcare, wages and work conditions such as class sizes teachers can manage

“It’s everything on the table because they want us to teach a longer day, with no pay. They want us to cover classes that are not our classes,” Scranton Federation of Teachers president Rosemary Boland said.

The school district posted its most recent proposal on July 15th. It said there will be a 1.5 percent increase to the salary scale over the life of the contract which extends through 2024. Boland says the hang-up is healthcare.

“They’re offering us what is not really health insurance. It’s something called reference based pricing, which would mean if we took that, we would be giving up our healthcare, we’re not willing to do that,” Boland said.

Boland said a strike could be on the horizon, depending on the outcome of Thursday’s meeting.

“I’m prepared to sit down on Thursday and stay at that table until the deal is done. Will I take a deal that doesn’t include healthcare? I will not,” Boland said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the school district for an update on negotiations.

Their most recent public statement said:

“It is the goal of the Scranton School District Board of Education and administration to work as partners with the Scranton Federation of Teachers, just as we have with our other employees represented by SEIU 32 BJ and Act 93.”

You can read that full statement on the district’s website. So far it’s unclear whether any progress was made at the bargaining table Thursday night.

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