Princeton Teachers Demand Contract, No Resolution Last Night

Princeton teachers gather outside district headquarters to demand a new contract. Photo by Anna Savoia.

After a marathon negotiating session that went into the wee hours of this morning, the teachers’ union for the Princeton regional Schools and school district officials did not come to an agreement on terms for a new contract.

Union and district representatives are scheduling another meeting with a mediator.

Teachers in the district have been without a contract since the end of June.

More than 100 teachers joined in a rally yesterday outside the district offices on Valley Road to demand a new contract. The union, the Princeton Regional Education Association, represents about 360 teachers.

Neither side will discuss the terms of a new contract and what the sticking points are.

Last month the board of education approved a three-year contract with the Princeton Regional Administrators Association, which represents 18 administrators in the district, including principals, assistant principals, supervisors and the athletic director.

The contract included a salary increase of 1.98 percent for the 2011-12 school year, and 2.25 percent in 2012-13 and in 2013-14. The contract is retroactive to July 1 and expires in June of 2014. Longevity pay for administrators who have worked in the district less than 10 years was eliminated as part of the terms of that contract.

Last year the district reached a two-year agreement with the third union in the district, the Princeton Regional Employees Support Staff Association (PRESSA), which represents instructional assistants, secretaries, and custodial and grounds workers.

Under the terms of that deal, the 133 employees represented by PRESSA received a raise of 1.5 percent for the first year of the contract, plus a cost-sharing payment for health insurance averaging about $742 per employee. For the second year, employees are receiving raises of 2 percent.

Givebacks from the union included the elimination of a board-paid disability plan, the merger of five health plans into three plans, the establishment of weekend work shifts at Princeton High School to minimize overtime, an increase in the co-pay for the district’s drug prescription plan and the subcontracting of night cleaning services at the high school.

District officials were pleased with the terms of that contract, but some teachers grumbled that it set a bad precedent because of some of the give backs and the raise percentage.