Tentative Contract Agreement Reached at Cranberry School District

| May 24, 2018

SENECA, Pa. (EYT) – After nearly five hours of negotiations, The Cranberry Education Association and the Cranberry Area School Board, came to a tentative agreement on a new union contract last night.

According to Marcus Schlegel, PSEA Representative, another negotiation session will be held on Wednesday, May 30, to review the language and specifications of the contract before the CEA and the school board each meet to officially ratify a contract.

The agreement comes just one day after the Cranberry Education Association (CEA) announced that it had rescinded its strike notice until Friday, May 25.

In a letter sent to Cranberry Area School District Superintendent Bill Vonada Tuesday morning, the association stated:

Due to the District’s willingness to negotiate with the Association this evening, the Cranberry Education Association is rescinding the strike notice issued for May 23, 2018.

This letter will serve as written notice under Act 88 that the Association intends to strike May 25, 2018, which is no less than 48 hours from the time of delivery of this notice. This strike will occur unless we are able to reach a tentative agreement prior to that date. The Association is hopeful that the parties will be able to reach a tentative agreement tonight, and if so, we will rescind this strike notice.

That announcement also came less than a day after Vonada issued a letter to parents, notifying them of a course of action to be taken if teachers choose to follow through with a strike. One of the actions included closing the school on Wednesday and not reopening it until the district is notified by the Cranberry Education Association that they intend to end the strike and return to work.

The first strike announcement came on May 11, after a nearly unanimous vote by the CEA on the evening of May 10. The notice stated that unless there was a resolution to the current negotiations, the members of the association will go on strike.

According to statements issued by the Cranberry Education Association and posted to the Cranberry Teachers Care Facebook page, the contract negotiations had broken down due to what they called “the strong arm stance of the Board’s negotiations team.”

According to the CEA release, the Board’s negotiations team had refused to make a move on wage increases despite concessions from teachers on healthcare and other issues. Other issues included a declaration that the Board would not negotiate over the summer and a “perceived threat” that retroactivity could be withdrawn if an agreement isn’t reached by May 30.

The Association also stated that they remained willing to negotiate as often as needed to resolve the contract issue.

In response to Cranberry Education Association’s strike notice, the Board also issued a statement on the state of the negotiations.

The Cranberry Area School Board gave a breakdown of its position, explaining that since early 2017, “the bargaining team has engaged diligently in the negotiation process with the Cranberry Area Education Association.”

According to the school board’s release, “the District and the Association mutually agreed to continue negotiations and meet at their next session on May 30, 2018.”

The release continued to state that “the District was shocked and disappointed to learn that the Association issued a strike notice on May 11, 2018.”

The board said they remained “ready and willing to negotiate a fair, equitable, and reasonable contract and look forward to meeting with the CEA on May 30 in hopes of accomplishing that goal.”

Stay with exploreVenango.com for continuous coverage of this Breaking News story.

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