5/8/2020 – 2020 All Member Meeting next Tuesday May 12th & More!

2020 All Member Meeting

Join us May 12th to recommit to our Union, Celebrate each other and end an incredibly challenging year on a high note.

All JCEA members are welcome to join us – you MUST RSVP to receive the link for the zoom call. RSVP HERE

Agenda highlights include:

– Voting on the 2020 JCEA Articles of incorporation
– Bargaining and Budget updates
– Video’s and Q&A’s form the candidates for Vice President of JCEA: Kendall Bolton and Dale Munholland
– 2020 JCEA award winners presentation
– 2020 JCEA Scholarship award winners presentation
– The official “passing of the gavel” Former JCEA President John Ford’s closing remarks and President-Elect Brooke Williams’s vision for the future.

Please join us in wearing a fancy hat, Hawaiian shirt or something festive and bring a cocktail to cheers John as we wish him well and raise a glass to President Elect Brooke Williams!

Nearly 200 folks showed up to support our bargaining team this week – on May 20th can we get to 300?

The theme of the evening was … “Are we there yet?”

If you weren’t able to join us this week you can find the recorded bargaining session HERE:

Our next session will be May 20th – you can RSVP and find our bargaining live stream here: https://bit.ly/JCEA_Barg_5_20

Despite our new digital reality during the COVID-19 crisis, JCEA has forged ahead in our negotiations and our members have joined the cause by supporting the team virtually from the comfort of home. We appreciate everyone who has joined us – and we need our member participation to continue to grow.

The management team at times has been frustratingly slow. Several sessions have come and gone without substantive counter-proposals from management and so far nothing has come to a formal agreement. Bargaining fatigue is a common management strategy – don’t give up!

Your team is committed to carrying this through and is grounded in the reality that what happens this year at the table will decide the direction of bargaining next year when our entire contract opens for the first time since the bad board era.


From BOAT Chair Ernest Garibay: Bargaining 5/8/20

How do educators receive a “fair trial”?

+ Management’s team finally seemed to start to understand our concerns regarding the current one-sided teacher disciplinary process, where district administrators control the entire process from the building level (level 1 appeals) all the way up to the administrative cabinet level (level 3 appeals).

+ Management’s team voiced that they share our interest in having a fair and impartial system of teacher discipline that avoids conflicts-of-interest and perceptions of unfairness or bias. (read on for how they propose to do that)

Δ It was concerning when a member of management’s explained that it isn’t principals’ full-time jobs to understand the contract and teacher rights. Our contract is carefully bargained, legally binding and one of the founding agreements of our district work together. It is on all of us to make intentional time to understand our contract.

Δ Management’s team communicated that despite administrators having total control of the entire appeals process, that this is not a scenario of “the fox guarding the henhouse”. Many of our JPS principals are good and fair people, and the JCEA team recognizes that AND we must have a common understanding and a fair process.

Two things can be true at the same time.

+ + + + The live chat during bargaining this week was rich with personal stories and concerns around principals who don’t follow (or even know) the contract, examples of personal relationships between administrators and community superintendents, and a general understanding of the employee-employer power dynamics.

We believe that recent appeals data backs up our concerns – the administration almost always “wins” level 2 and 3 appeals. It’s akin to having judge, jury, and the judicial system all on the same payroll.

Δ The Board team is resistant to having a neutral third-party act as an arbitrator at the highest level of the teacher disciplinary process, citing that this arbitrator might not understand education, understand the JeffCo culture, and would have a cost attached.

+ We maintain that educators deserve the same rights as workers in every other sector – access to neutral skilled professionals – they are experts for a reason.

JCEA members HAD the right to third-party arbitration until the bad board stole it. The district and JCEA split the costs 50/50. Crying financial hardship is not a factual excuse for continuing to offer teachers a stacked process.

+ The Board team and the JCEA team appear to be getting closer on sick bank language as well as innovation school language. Both teams need more time to closely review proposals and counter-proposals.

Δ The Board team and the JCEA team still have some distance to bridge regarding teacher rights – teacher discipline, student discipline, and the appeals (grievance) process.

Because there are only two more scheduled bargaining sessions on May 20 and 27, both teams recognized the need in adding additional bargaining sessions in June.

Taking a deeper dive from your bargaining chair Christy Yacano:

Funding & Budget:

If you are one of our members who has completed the budget priority survey, thank you! We need your voice in the room. It will be open until May 11 at 3:00 pm.

If not, please take a few minutes to fill it out today: https://bit.ly/JCEA_Budget_Barg

We need this information when we are at the table. Our team must be able to confidently say, do X, not Y. We hope you will offer us some grace and not make assumptions from our questions.

Some members have expressed concern that if we are asking about budget cuts, it means we are not advocating for them.

NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!

The reality is – we are fighting on two fronts: Locally in Jeffco and at the State.

We are strongly advocating for no cuts from the state. For more details on CEA/JCEA’s positions at the legislature and to contact your legislators directly, click HERE.

If we fail to mobilize the army needed to protect public education in Colorado we will have no choice but to be prepared to argue locally for the “least bad” options.

If you were here during the recession, you may recall similar questions because management will propose certain approaches to budget cutting. They tipped their hand during the budget presentation during bargaining when they literally said it is easier and faster for them to cut staff salaries than to tangle through decision making with parents and community about cuts to programs like sports, specials and outdoor lab.

We are not advocating for cutting electives, for example, but we did ask you to rank your priorities, including mental health support, elective offerings, preserving support jobs that work more with teachers than students, and various types of salary cuts.

Grievance procedure & Innovation:

At bargaining Wednesday night we finally received some counter-proposals from the District on our proposals for a new grievance process and required innovation language.

Innovation language is required by law because the District allowed a charter school, Free Horizons Montessori, to become a District option school with innovation status. The innovation law was passed a number of years ago to allow schools to vote to waive out of district and state requirements and to waive all or part of a negotiated agreement. It was a deliberate attack on union and educator rights.

Free Horizons waived our JCEA negotiated agreement in its entirety. This means that those educators do not have access to anything in the contract. Period. Because we have that one innovation school we are now an “innovation district” and have to have language in our contract discussing the process.

This is obviously important to us because we believe our negotiated agreement improves teaching and learning conditions and want to make sure that before any process to waive provisions begins that it includes full disclosure and discussion of the ramifications of the contract waivers (and other waivers for that matter). No one should be asked to waive their rights before they are even aware of what their rights are.

The grievance, or appeals process, is also important because it is the enforcement provision of our agreement. Without a strong grievance process, the contract can be ignored and individual teachers can be disciplined unfairly. We have had a different process for the last five years, and are seeing most grievances fail.

Without an outside arbitrator as the final step, with district administrators deciding if another administrator is right or not, we have management being ALL of the enforcement process: police, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner!

Please watch bargaining sessions and be prepared to take action for a fair agreement.

Next session: May 20th at 5:00 pm and you can RSVP and invite fellow JCEA members here:

https://bit.ly/JCEA_Barg_5_20

Lastly, we want to say again, and a million times more, thank you.

Thank you for all you have done, thank you for all you currently do and thank you for the work we will do together moving forward. We appreciate YOU.