“Supplemental pay” for nurses?
Dear Jeffco Nurses,
We wanted you to hear from us directly. When the District rolled out the January restart plan on Wednesday, there were two items included about changing pay. One is to increase the stipend to teachers for covering classes without a sub, the other some “supplemental pay” for nurses. We do not know the nature of this intended “supplemental pay.” Perhaps you do.
Any unilateral pay change is a violation of our negotiated agreement and we will be communicating that to the District. It doesn’t mean we will oppose these items, we don’t know that. It does mean it must be negotiated.
We have met with member nurses about the upcoming negotiations of the entire contract this spring. This is an opportunity for all JCEA members to propose changes to the entire collective bargaining agreement, not just wages, and two issues as we do in years in which the entire CBA isn’t open for negotiation.
We invite those of you who are not members to join the association so we can include you in these discussions. You can join at https://jcea.coloradoea.org/join-now/
Why is it important to uphold the process?
Since 1969 JCEA has proudly organized, advocated with, and bargained on behalf of educators across Jefferson County. While this work is not always easy, through JCEA you have legal rights and protections non-union educators simply do not have. The right of Jeffco educators to make their voices heard and be a part of critical decision making is critical to student success and a healthy, functional district.
JCEA has grown into a proud member-led organization that is committed to a democratic process that offers all members equal access and opportunity to have their voices heard and become leaders in our work. “The Union” is you and thousands of your colleagues. JCEA staff support your vision and goals.
In March, as we faced the incredible unknowns of the impending global health crisis, Superintendent Glass made educators a priority and came to our JCEA council first to talk through the emergency shift to remote learning and quickly worked with JCEA to negotiate an MOU to help address a whole new landscape of teaching and learning. Communication was continuous, and we all did our best to elevate concerns and problem-solve together.
Unfortunately, the current Jeffco leadership seems to be turning away from valuing collaboration and our legally bargained and approved contract which has been in place for more than 50 years. The January restart plan was not created with JCEA input; there was no attempt to get broad feedback from educators or staff as they did with the initial restart plan (although 600 stakeholders were offered presentations and a brief google feedback form), and the Covid Monitoring Committee- bargained and agreed upon between our members and the district- has not made a single recommendation to date.
While there are certainly elements of the plan that are supported by educators and JCEA formally, the lack of meaningful input is alarming. Educators and staff must be included to trust the process and the outcome.
Even more concerning are the elements of this plan which directly violate negotiated agreements between Jeffco and JCEA:
- Compensation changes for nurses without any negotiation
- Compensation changes for covering classes without any negotiation
- Suggesting that combining cohorts is acceptable even as it directly violates our negotiated MOU
While we are always advocating for more compensation, unilaterally making changes to bargained agreements or for specific groups of employees without going through formal bargaining, is illegal. It is also unfair to those who are not being offered equal changes. We have had this happen before when the “bad board” took similar actions five years ago. JCEA upheld your legal rights, pursued legal action, and won.
We are demanding that the District make a formal request to return to bargaining for the 20-21 school year to discuss these additional payments. We MUST uphold and protect our contract and will not allow for a unilateral change to pay or working conditions without negotiation and a ratification vote from our members. Whether their proposal is acceptable or not is another matter. The process, in which they ignored JCEA as the sole bargaining agent for educators in Jefferson County, is illegal and unacceptable.
You may receive communications from the District claiming that our actions mean JCEA doesn’t care about educators, or JCEA doesn’t support increases in pay.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
We are ready and able to discuss salary or stipend increases with the District. But the District MUST negotiate with JCEA. Today it’s an increase. But if we don’t push back on these illegal actions that usurp our contractual rights, tomorrow it could easily be a unilateral pay decrease or the loss of our contract completely.
Stay tuned, there will be more to come on this topic as the situation develops.