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Brick School District, TWU Move Closer to Finalizing New Contract

Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Brick school officials and members of the Transport Workers Union are close to reaching a new pact, both sides said.

The union, which represents Brick school bus drivers, custodians, mechanics, cafeteria workers and other non-teaching staff members in the district, have been negotiating for months. As the new contract is being hammered out, grievances between the union and district have lingered over the dismissal of a number of bus drivers before the 2015-16 school year began in September.

The two sides have held seven in-person negotiating sessions thus far, said Paul Kalac, the school district’s labor counsel, who described the meetings as “courteous and professional.”

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“With any negotiation, sometimes the parties take a little additional time to get re-settled,” said Kalac, addressing concerns that the negotiating process was taking longer than expected. “From the board perspective, we thought we were there. We thought that would be brought back to the TWU for a full discussion and a full vote.”

John T. Menshon, president of the TWU’s Local 225, Branch 4, said union officials just received an e-mail with an offer for the first time the day before a school board meeting last week and have already scheduled a meeting during which a deal may be fianlized.

“I think that is the professional thing to do, to get all the parties back at the table,” said Menshon.

Kalac said the two sides have reached an agreement that includes about 100 changes from the previous contract and have finalized all but “a handful of issues.”

The two sides are “on the verge of a settlement,” Kalac said.