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Timberlane Regional School Board Walks Away from Contract Negotiations

For Immediate Release

January 5, 2023

 Timberlane Regional School Board Walks Away from Contract Negotiations

 Timberlane educators face a second year without a contract that respects their work

PLAISTOW, NH— January 5, 2023 —The leadership of the Timberlane Teachers’ Association released the following statement:

 The Timberlane Teachers’ Association, AFT #4796,  is gravely disappointed that for a second time in two years, the Timberlane Regional School Board has given up on trying to reach a tentative agreement with the Union that respects the work and dedication that Timberlane Educators have given to the children and families of the District.  The two parties have been meeting since June 2021 to try to reach an agreement that recognizes the contributions and sacrifices that the educators of Timberlane have made for the District while also respecting the needs of the taxpayers.  Timberlane educators have been working without a contract since July 2022 with no pay increases or cost of living adjustments while facing rising inflation and rising cost of living, and will continue to face shrinking paychecks for another year.  The Union has presented more than a dozen substantial proposals and counter proposals, endured two mediation sessions, and made significant concessions and compromises over the last two years.  The last proposal offered by the Union constituted an increase in cost over the previously agreed upon first year in the prior tentative agreement of less than one-half percent of the proposed District’s annual budget. Sadly, the School Board has made little compromise and refused to meet the Union on common ground.  Even as of the date of this press release, the School Board continues to push forward proposals that were rejected by the Union membership for being insultingly inadequate to what Timberlane is worth instead of negotiating with the Union.

TTA President Coral Hampe issued the following statement: “Despite significant compromise on salary and earned benefits that the District has promised to employees for decades, the School Board was zealously committed to ideologies that took away an earned retirement benefit (that most NH districts offer their employees), refused to adequately compensate experienced educators that have dedicated their lives to Timberlane, and was intended to keep Timberlane from being a competitive District that attracts and retains high quality educators.  The School Board’s refusal to work with the Union to find common ground will keep Timberlane 17th out of 18th in comparable districts and force dedicated educators to reconsider how many more personal sacrifices they can endure.  Additionally, the Board has been negotiating in bad faith including a refusal to share their underlying costing methodology for what each proposal and counter proposal would cost taxpayers claiming they ‘have never’ shared their costing work in past negotiations. This is factually untrue, as past Boards have worked with the TTA on costing at every negotiation before 2021. True collaboration helps in reaching a compromise.  This decision by the School Board to abandon negotiations in the 11th hour is even more disheartening when remembering several School Board members, on camera, said to the members of the TTA that they were ‘pro-teacher’ and would ‘get this done.’  Sadly, they seemed to quickly abandon that resolve.”

While it is now too late to achieve an agreement that would be on the March ballot for taxpayer approval, the dedicated educators of the Timberlane Teachers’ Association will continue to work towards an agreement that values the professionalism and sacrifices their members and calls upon the parents, community members, and other stakeholders to hold their elected leaders accountable and urge their School Board members to negotiate in good faith next year; adequately compensate their employees for their lifetime of dedication, loyalty, and sacrifices to Timberlane; and to honor their decades-long commitments and promises.  Only then can Timberlane be a district that attracts and retains these high quality educators and is recognized as the excellent district taxpayers and families can be proud of.

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