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Franklin Lakes Board of Education: Negotiations

February 12, 2018

 The Franklin Lakes Board of Education (the “Board”) and the Franklin Lakes Education Association (the “Union”) have been unable to agree on the terms of a new contract.

 The process and timeline.

  • The teachers continue to receive salaries and benefits under the terms of the contract that expired on June 30, 2017.
  • In anticipation of the contract’s expiration, the parties met three times in the spring of 2017. The Board expected the Union to deliver a counterproposal at a fourth meeting scheduled for June 6, 2017; instead, the Union cancelled that meeting and declared an impasse.
  • The Union’s impasse declaration ended face-to-face discussions and triggered the appointment of a state mediator, who met with the parties on September 25, 2017. When unable to make progress toward a settlement, the mediator moved the parties to the next stage of collective bargaining known as “factfinding”.
  • The first meeting with the state factfinder is scheduled for March 7, 2018. After hearing arguments from both sides, the factfinder will present a non-binding settlement recommendation.
  • The Board has been and remains willing to meet with the Union at any time in a good faith effort to reach a new agreement.
Compensation and benefits are two major issues.

 Compensation.  The Board values the teachers’ contributions to the District’s outstanding educational program and offered a total compensation package that exceeds the Bergen County average settlements for all three years of the proposed contract.  The Union is demanding more.

 Benefits.  The District currently pays between 65% and 97% (depending on salary and plan selection) of each employee’s health insurance premiums.  The Board understands the importance of this benefit, and proposed to continue paying these percentages despite ever-increasing insurance costs and looming budget shortfalls.  In addition, the Board expressed its willingness to discuss alternate approaches to ease the burden of health insurance premiums on employees.  The Union is demanding that an even larger share of health insurance costs be shifted permanently to the District and its taxpayers; the Board believes such a change is not financially sustainable.

 All Board members, as parents who have (or had) children in District schools, understand and respect the teachers’ critical role and appreciate the teachers’ commitment to their students as the Board and Union work toward a new agreement.  The Board is available to meet directly with the Union at any time in an effort to expedite resolution of the contract.

 Please direct any questions or comments to the Franklin Lakes Board of Education at:  boe@franklinlakes.k12.nj.us