Phoenixville teachers union hires labor law firm

PHOENIXVILLE — After more than three years of negotiations and no new contract, the Phoenixville Area Education Association has hired a law firm to aid in its bargaining with the school district.

“In order to develop a reasonable and equitable contract in a timely fashion, (the Phoenixville Area Education Association) has contracted the services of Willig, Williams and Davidson,” according to a press release issued Monday from union co-president Catherine Renzulli.

The Philadelphia law firm’s website states it as a “union-side” labor law firm.

Advertisement

Listed among its clients are the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

According to the Phoenixville teachers’ union’s release, the firm “successfully bargained” for the Radnor Education Association and the state’s university professor.

“We are confident that this addition to our team will result in an expedient and balanced contract for the Phoenixville Area Education Association,” the release said.

Two bargaining sessions are scheduled for this month, Phoenixville Area School Board President Joshua Gould said in the previous two public board meetings.

He reiterated at Thursday’s meeting that a state fact finder’s report last fall continues to be “the basis for the negotiations” on the board’s side.

After an April 18 board meeting, union co-president Tammy Kurtz said the fact finder’s report was not clearly written and that the union was not comfortable with working from that.

Both sides initially rejected the fact finder’s report, but in a required second vote, the school board accepted it and the teachers’ union rejected it.

The contract the district’s teachers are working under expired June 30, 2010. Negotiations began roughly six months before that.

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.