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220 TEACHER CONTRACTS SLATED FOR BARGAINING; FULL PROVISIONS OF ACT 88 GO INTO EFFECT IN 1993

 HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- At least 220 teacher contracts will be the focus of negotiations in Pennsylvania's public school districts this year, Annette Palutis, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), announced today.
 Palutis said 163 of the contracts will expire this year and are the first to be renegotiated under the complete cycle and full provisions of the commonwealth's new teacher bargaining law, Act 88. The remaining 57 are carryovers from the 1992 and 1991 school years.
 Jan. 11 marked the official beginning of the current bargaining year in school districts statewide.
 The law went into effect last July. Only the July-December provisions of the act impacted on 1992 contract talks.
 "The true effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses of Act 88 will take time to evaluate, perhaps several years," Palutis said. "There are, however, several points that are already clear. Factfindings and arbitrations will increase, causing teachers and school boards to spend more time doing research and testifying at hearings."
 Palutis noted that the new law provides that either the school board or employee organization can request and receive factfinding between Feb. 25 and April 10 of each year.
 After that, factfinding can be ordered by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) if both parties agree and the mediator thinks it will help.
 Palutis added that Act 88 still retains the employee's right to strike, but with several modifications dictated by the school calendar.
 "When teachers return to school following a first' strike, mandatory but advisory arbitration must take place," Palutis said.
 In arbitration, a neutral party examines the facts, the positions of each side, and measures public opinion in an attempt to reach an agreement. A second window allows the local to strike if the advisory arbitration does not result in a contract. The secretary of education may seek an injunction to end the strike when it is determined that the district will not be able to provide 180 days of classes by June 30.
 Palutis advised, "Act 88 is still in its infancy. No one has yet to bargain under the full provisions of the law, utilizing all the steps and avenues available chronologically.
 "If school boards will work as hard as PSEA and our local leaders to make Act 88 work, then the new law will accomplish what the General Assembly intended."
 Here are the important timelines and provisions of Act 88:
 Timelines:
 Jan. 11 -- last day for negotiations to begin
 Feb. 25 -- mediation on or before this date
 April 10 -- last day for either side to unilaterally request and receive factfinding
 May 20 -- last day to issue factfinding reports if factfinding has been requested under the window above
 June 4 -- first day to reconsider decision on factfinder's report
 June 9 -- last day to reconsider decision on factfinder's report
 Summary of Provisions:
 -- Bargaining must begin by Jan. 11.
 -- Mediation is mandatory if an agreement is not reached by Feb. 25.
 -- Either party may require factfinding before April 10. After that date, factfinding is voluntary.
 -- A 48-hour notice is required before a strike begins.
 -- Advisory arbitration is mandatory when a strike will prevent the school entity from providing 180 days of instruction before June 15 or the last day of the scheduled school year, whichever comes later.
 -- Strikes must cease when the parties submit to arbitration and may not resume until one of the parties has rejected the arbitration award.
 -- Selective strikes are banned.
 -- Employers may not use strikebreakers during the first strike who have not been employed by the district during the preceding 12 months.
 -- If a strike resumes after the arbitration award is rejected, the district may hire strikebreakers.
 -- The secretary of education may seek an injunction when the local has been on strike long enough that the district will not be able to provide 180 days by June 30.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/22/93
 /Editors: A complete public school bargaining list for Pennsylvania is available for media inspection from George Badner of the PSEA. For further local information, contact the nearest PSEA field office./
 /CONTACT: George Badner, 717-255-7113, or fax, 717-255-7124, or Robert Strunk, 215-735-3098, or Robert Baldis, 412-471-7752, all of the PSEA/


CO: Pennsylvania State Education Association ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

MK-CC -- PH013 -- 7875 01/22/93 11:23 EST
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Date:Jan 22, 1993
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