Harlem Support Staff Negotiations Go Forward, Teachers Talks Silent

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For the first time since Saturday morning, support staff and Harlem district negotiators talked face to face, and instead of lost time, both sides each cranked out a new proposal in the matter of hours, with more discussion planned for Friday.

The Harlem district gave the support staff union a new three year proposal, which changed from the district's earlier proposal of one year. The support staff then came up with their own counter-proposal, which both sides plan to discuss Friday at noon.

What stands between compromises is the staff's base increases with insurance costs between the three years. Despite that, both sides felt good entering Friday's meeting.

"We have had a three-year package on the table since the beginning. We'd have to applaud the board for moving in our direction. We're hopeful that we might be able to reach an agreement by tomorrow. If we do that, that'd be great, that's why we're holding this meeting," support staff spokeswoman Barbara Abrahamson said.

"In my estimation, we've made great gains tonight and hopefully we'll have a positive response back to the union tomorrow," Harlem Superintendent Dr. Pat De Luca said.

Negotiations between the Harlem teachers and the district did not see the same changes as the support union. Teacher negotiators said the talks didn't go anywhere. No new proposals or meeting times were set up for both sides on Friday.