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School starts in Pittsfield next week, but talks with key union have stalled

Aug 24, 2022 1:00 am

Matt Martinez is reporting for The Berkshire Eagle contract talks between the Pittsfield Public Schools and the union representing its bus drivers, cafeteria workers, secretaries, paraprofessionals and custodians have stalled a week before classes resume on Sept. 1. The Pittsfield School Committee last week tabled discussion of possible agreements between the district and the Pittsfield Federation of School Employees, saying it had not been notified the contracts had been ratified by the rank and file. Unions representing the schools' teachers and administrators had their agreements approved already for the coming year. William Cameron, the chair of the Pittsfield School Committee, said the committee placed the contracts on the agenda because members hoped to hear from the unions “at the 11th hour.” The unions and school district chose to enter mediation in April, after eight months of little to no progress in negotiations. Mediators identified key issues to resolve and worked to get them addressed; however, the contracts remain unsigned. Union representatives were not available for comment. While Cameron declined to identify specific issues that arose during mediation, he said that employee compensation has remained a key factor. Multiple attempts to reach the union for comment were unsuccessful. The School Committee may now need to call a special meeting to get the agreements settled before students return. Read the full story in The Berkshire Eagle.

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