Abington Journal

Abington Heights Education Association calls off March 1 strike

Abington Heights Education Association (AHEA) President Tim Moher informed Superintendent Michael Mahon Feb. 23 that the teachers’ union has cancelled its scheduled strike for March 1 and has set a new strike date for Sept. 10.

“At the last negotiations (Feb. 8), we were hoping the district would bring something of substance to the table and they reverted back to their proposal from April,” Moher said. “We realized the sides are very far apart and we have a lot of work to do. We were faced with what to do next and decided it was best for everyone to push the strike to September, and ask the (school) board to meet and have more productive discussions.”

According to Moher, the AHEA asked the district to enter into non-binding arbitration, but it declined on Feb. 21, a few days shy of the 10-day period it had to accept or reject the invitation.

The AHEA previously rejected a proposal made by an independent mediator to enter into fact finding with the district on Sept. 18, 2017.

“We were not willing because we feel like the non-binding arbitration is a better process for our members,” Moher said.

Mahon was thankful the AHEA decided to call off the March 1 strike.

“It’s bad enough that the last day of school is scheduled for June 20,” he said. “The students and members of the community do not want that pushed back further. In that respect, we’re pleased the union is not striking March 1.”

There are currently no scheduled negotiation sessions between the two sides.

John Audi, the school district’s attorney, proposed dates of Feb. 12, 13, 15, 19 and 26.

Moher said the district’s representation reached out to Audi with proposed dates and the union is awaiting a response.

The previous teachers’ union contract expired Aug. 31, 2017.

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By Robert Tomkavage

rtomkavage@timesleader.com