4/16/21 – URGENT INFO: Pandemic overtime pay in Jeffco

Dear JCEA ARs, AACs, and elected officers:

This afternoon we filed a grievance on overtime pay being paid to some Jeffco employees and not others. This same issue has been taken to court in the past and ruled in favor of JCEA members and your collective bargaining agreement.

The email below was just sent to every licensed Jeffco educator’s school email but we wanted to make sure you received it to both school and person if your members approach you with questions. Make no mistake – management created this issue, it is not the fault of any of your hardworking colleagues.

If you have further questions please reach out to Lisa Elliott at lelliott@coloradoea.org

Background on overtime pay grievance

Dear Jeffco Educators,

As an educator in a unionized district, you and your colleagues have the right to negotiate collectively to ensure fairness, equity, and a voice in decisions being made.

Sadly, management often pushes back against this structure because it’s easier to make unilateral decisions than work collaboratively. It’s also easier to favor one group over another to create division and conflict between employee groups, rather than work to improve wages and working conditions for all. It’s been a difficult year, we recognize that and know that each and every one of you has worked tirelessly.

The reality is that management has put you, and especially your nurse colleagues in the middle of a dispute they created. We want to be transparent about the steps that we are legally obligated to take to protect not only your rights but the rights of every educator in Jeffco. We have fought this fight before in the courts and won – management knows better but perhaps they have forgotten.

JCEA represents all non-administrative licensed personnel—teachers, counselors, DTLs, Coaches, SPED services, nurses, TOSAs, etc. This is outlined in Article 3 of your JCEA Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Salary schedules, how people move on those schedules, and opportunities for additional pay for additional duties, are all spelled out in Article 17.

In December, JCEA President Brooke Williams noticed a comment in a school board presentation about paying nurses extra pay. She contacted the District administration and reminded them any additional pay for any Jeffco educator within our bargaining unit had to be negotiated. They replied that it was just an idea, and wasn’t being followed through on. Later they mentioned Article 17-10 which provides for extra pay for secondary teachers who teach an additional class as a possible basis for paying nurses extra.

We kept hearing from nurses that they were being asked to keep track of hours worked over forty a week for additional pay. We finally, after a records request, received information that 50 nurses received additional pay ranging from $26 to $6240. This was apparently based on ‘overtime’ hours worked during the pandemic. Nurses were not paid equally. Whether it was equitable amongst nurses is not known.

Then in April, a staff member noticed on our monthly bargaining unit report that most (not all) nurses had been given an extra pay of 8.5%, presumably for April and May.

What happens now?

We have filed a grievance against the District because of these actions. If this is not addressed it establishes past practice the district could use in the future. This time it is an increase. Next time it could be a unilateral cut in pay. Either way, we must defend the process and your contract.

We all need to stand in solidarity for the contract to be followed. This is not something to be blamed on nurses. To be clear, our nurses have worked hard. They certainly deserve any extra pay they may receive.

AND, so does every other Jeffco educator who has worked countless additional hours during this pandemic.

How does this impact me?

This unilateral action by District management is unacceptable. We are NOT asking the District to rescind these payments to nurses. We are asking, however, that ALL JCEA bargaining unit members have an opportunity to submit their extra hours for this school year for additional pay.

While we do not know the outcome of this grievance, and it may take quite some time to be resolved, we want an idea of how many people feel they would qualify for additional payments. If you have worked more hours than a ‘normal’ school year that is directly related to the impacts and requirements of COVID and in-person/hybrid/remote learning, or health-related duties and contact tracing, please fill out this form to provide us your information.

Report additional hours worked HERE.

What else can I do to support fair compensation for all?

If you have not yet joined your colleagues in fighting for a fair negotiated agreement that provides equity, collaboration, and respect for educators and the families we serve, JOIN US TODAY.

As you know compensation in Jeffco has been a challenge for years and we continue to lose talented educators to surrounding districts that prioritize educator pay. This is not good for our students or our community.

Coming off what has most certainly been the most difficult year in decades we believe this trend cannot continue. Many of you have worked double or more of your usual workload and have moved mountains to support students and each other during the pandemic. You all deserve to be valued, and we are ready to fight for investment in every Jeffco educator not only by upholding your contractual rights but also at the bargaining table this year. We hope you will join us.

Together we can accomplish what we could never accomplish alone.

Sincerely,

Brooke Williams, President, JCEA