Peabody's teachers' union and school district have reconciled their differences and agreed to a new contract.
School Committee member David McGeney, who has served as the board's chief negotiator with the unions, announced during Tuesday's School Committee meeting that both sides recently came to an agreement. McGeney and his colleagues unanimously voted to ratify the new contract, but few additional details were made public Tuesday.
McGeney said a joint statement with the union would be forthcoming later this week.
After the meeting, he explained that the terms had been agreed to by both sides about a week ago and the exact language was being refined by Assistant Solicitor Donald Conn, who acts as the city's chief negotiator with all unions.
McGeney said there was some "give and take," as to be expected with any contract, but the final result was one mutually acceptable to both sides.
The teachers' union, which is the largest collective bargaining unit in the city, has been in contract negotiations with the city for nearly two years on this latest deal. The last contract expired in Aug. 31, 2011 -- talks began well before that, however -- and a mediator was brought in this winter after about a five-month lull in talks between the two sides.
Teachers and other school employee unions were alone last spring in refusing a one-year deal with 0 percent pay raises offered by former Mayor Michael Bonfanti's administration.
The last contract spanned September 2008 until August 2011 and gave teachers a cumulative 12 percent salary bump while also agreeing to a greater employee burden on health insurance. The premium rate split between the city and employees went from 90/10 to 85/15 during that period.
In related news, Mayor Ted Bettencourt and the city's unions have finally reached an agreement on health insurance and Peabody will be entering the state's health plan, the Group Insurance Commission, which is slated to save up to $15 million over the next four years.