3 teachers sue unions over salary, retirement

The teachers say the longevity increases aren't fair.
BEAVER, Pa. (AP) -- Three teachers have sued their local and state unions, alleging a recent contract cheats them out of salary and retirement pay.
Riverside School District teachers Nancy Avau, Gail Herron and Christine A. McCollum claim a formula that determines longevity increases discriminates against some union members because it ignores how long they have been certified teachers.
Under the contract, anyone with 22 to 27 years in the union would get an additional $1,000 per year starting next school year, according to the lawsuit; those with 28 years or more would receive $2,000.
The lawsuit, filed in Beaver County, claims the longevity increases are unfair because the unions should fairly represent all members, regardless of how long they have been members of the local union.
The contract was negotiated earlier this year by the Pennsylvania State Education Association for the Riverside teachers union.
Close to retirement age
The three women are nearing retirement age and their retirement pay could be lower because they are receiving lower salaries under the longevity formula, their attorney Gregory K. Douglass said.
Under the contract, Avau of New Castle and Herron of North Sewickley Township, both of whom have been teaching for 28 years, would not qualify for longevity pay because they have not been members of the local union for at least 22 years. McCollum, of North Sewickley Township, has been a teacher for more than 30 years and is eligible for longevity pay because she has been a Riverside union member for 231/2 years.
Avau and Herron would each lose $51,000 under the contract; McCollum would lose $25,500, the lawsuit states.
The president of the Riverside teachers union told the Beaver County Times she could not discuss the lawsuit.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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