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Barrack Hebrew Academy Faculty Ratifies 5-Year Contract

BRYN MAWR, PA – Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy Faculty Association today approved a new, five-year contract with the private Jewish day school, providing for raises totaling 10 percent over the life of the contract. 

The contract provides raises of two percent in years two and three of the contract and three percent raises in years four and five. 

Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy has 56 teachers of secular and Jewish subjects.

“Negotiations were conducted in an atmosphere of respect and were guided by our mutual desire to ensure that every student has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential,” said Barnett Kamen, co-president of the union and a teacher at the school. “The successful conclusion of our negotiations shows that there is no conflict between running a successful Jewish day school and having a unionized workforce.” 

The agreement also maintains the teachers’ current health care plans and the school’s matching contributions to employee pensions. Under the agreement, teachers will pay more out of pocket for visits to doctors and for prescriptions, in addition to paying part of their insurance premiums, which will be lower than last year.

New teachers will earn tenure after five years of satisfactory performance as full-time faculty members, instead of the three years specified in the previous agreement. Teachers agreed to other changes to work rules.

The new contract covers the staff from September 1, 2014, to August 31, 2019. The previous collective bargaining agreement expired on Sunday, August 31.

“We are pleased with the agreement and with the speed and professionalism with which we were able to negotiate a successful contract,” said Barrack Faculty Association Co-President Rabbi Michael Yondorf. “The teachers, the administration and the board were all committed to reaching an agreement that maintains that high quality of education provided by a stable and dedicated staff of teachers. We share the same motivation – to continue offering children in the Jewish community opportunities for educational excellence as well as personal and spiritual growth.” 

The Barrack faculty was organized as an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, AFT Pennsylvania, in 1978, along with one of its feeder schools, now known as Perelman Jewish Day School in Wynnewood and Melrose Park. In March, the Perelman board withdrew union recognition from the PJDS Faculty Association’s 60 member faculty. The faculty is appealing the withdrawal of recognition to the National Labor Relations Board.

Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy is a pluralistic, bilingual Jewish day school with 354 students that was founded in 1946 as Akiba Hebrew Academy. It is accredited by the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, National Association of Independent Schools and the College Board. Its curriculum includes a junior-year semester studying in Israel. Its alumni include Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, CNN Anchor Jake Tapper, best-selling author Mitch Albom as well as Rhodes Scholars and Fulbright Fellows. 

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