Leaders of the Prince George's County teachers union yesterday gave negotiators for the county school board a deadline of this Friday to reach agreement over a new contract.
Describing the six-week-old talks as "stalled," David Graham, chief negotiator for the teachers, said that if an agreement is not reached by Friday the standing proposals will be presented to the union's 200-member faculty representative council for action. The council, composed of many of the same teacher representatives who voted to set the deadline, would then have the choice of passing the proposals on to the rank and file for ratification, sending their negotiators back to the bargaining table, or calling for a job action or strike.
Graham said that negotiations on the teachers' original request for a 42.4 percent salary increase had come to a halt at 31.2 percent asked by the teachers and 5.2 percent offered by the school's negotiators as of last Friday. School negotiators have refused to comment directly on the contract issues, but school board member Angelo Castelli pointed out that there is more to the 5.2 percent offer than a simple raise, although he declined to give details.
According to Graham, however, it was the school board negotiators' refusal to make counterproposals on their so called "noneconomic" proposals, including teacher safety and student discipline, that led to the vote by 180 representatives from the county's 215 schools on Friday.
Although Graham said that some progress was made in yesterday's negotiating session he did not call off a motorcade of about 250 teachers who drove by the home of school board chairman Jo Ann Bell in District Heights yesterday afternoon as a show of teacher unity.