By Susan Risoli
The United Teachers of Northport union has reached a tentative employment contract settlement with the Northport-East Northport school district.
School board counsel John Gross, of the Hauppauge firm Ingerman Smith LLP, said in a phone interview Monday that a memorandum of agreement containing details of the settlement had been delivered to Sean Callahan, the NYSUT labor relations specialist, that day.
Callahan will have the opportunity to make changes or comments on the agreement, he said. After that, Smith said, he expects it will take “another week or so before it’s signed.”
After signature by the negotiating team, Smith said, the agreement will go to UTN members for ratification, then to the Northport-East Northport school board for approval “and then it becomes public.”
The union’s previous contract expired June 30, 2014.
Union President Antoinette Blanck said in a phone interview Tuesday night that the union had received a draft of the memorandum of agreement and “we’re in the middle of reviewing it.”
She sent an email to union members Tuesday to update them on the contract’s progress, she said. A meeting was set for Wednesday with Callahan, she said, to review the agreement. Callahan’s office is in the same building as Ingerman Smith, she added, which she hoped would hasten the process if there are further discussions about the agreement.
After the memorandum is signed, each of the union’s 720 members will get a hard copy to read. There will be a ratification meeting, Blanck said, at which the settlement agreement will be explained. Then there will be a ratification vote “by secret ballot, in each building” no less than five days and no more than 10 days after the meeting, she said.
Although she said she couldn’t yet speak publicly about details of the new contract, Blanck said she felt positively about the settlement.
“We would have been still at the [negotiating] table if we felt this wasn’t an appropriate settlement to bring back to our members,” she said. “We’re hopeful that the rank-and-file members agree that this is an agreement that is respectful of the membership and respectful of the community of taxpayers.”
Blanck said the settlement was a long time coming “but certainly we’ve been very happy with the process” of negotiations.
The union represents the district’s teachers, teaching assistants, nurses, librarians, psychologists and counselors.