FUSE is sorry to have to share with you some disappointing news before the holiday break, but it is important that members are aware that we have once again been forced to declare impasse to negotiations.
As you are aware, FUSE declared an impasse in June when the district, in a one year package proposal, was insisting on a hard freeze to salaries (no step increases) with additional detrimental changes to our contract.
In October, the mediator requested both sides go back to the table to work toward a three year deal. FUSE agreed and went back to the bargaining table in a good faith effort to achieve just that. The district’s initial proposal included such outrageous demands as employer restrictions on staff family planning decisions, elimination of due process for all SRPs, elimination of prep and duty periods, and an increase in insurance cost with a decrease in the quality of plan. After several meetings with the district, it became clear that they had no intention of achieving a three year deal.
We continued in hopes of a two year deal. A week ago, the district told us they could not agree to anything more than a one year deal, which is actually a six month deal since they indicated that nothing would be retroactive.
The six month deal would require numerous and permanent givebacks including relinquishing the right to a mutually agreed upon school calendar, increasing the required retirement notification to six months, additional duty periods at the high school, and mandatory coverages. In exchange, they offered a one year payment of 0.86% that was not permanent… and would not be pensionable. Ultimately, their real offer was an increase of 0.54%. But wait! Since it wouldn’t be retroactive, that would have made your actual 2020-2021 increase 0.27%. For reference, White Plains, a comparable district, is in the middle of a three year contract with increases of 1.5% for each year. On the other hand, White Plains is not paying off hundreds of thousands of dollars to multiple superintendents and previous administrators, not to mention millions to their new law firm.
That was the district’s final offer. The FUSE Negotiations Committee unanimously rejected this offer and immediately declared an impasse. We will have a meeting with all our members to discuss and share more details during the first week of January.
Despite the district’s disrespect, we want you to know that FUSE recognizes the value, dedication, and stability that we continue to provide to this community. During this holiday season, we wish you and your families a happy, safe, and healthy new year.