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The quick cut – Bargaining 4/22/2020
The theme of the night was – “Why does it matter?”
Management seems to not understand why our negotiated agreement is important
They say things like:
– We already have a policy for that – why do we need to add it to the contract?
– We don’t think adding language into the contract will give us the “flexibility” and “discretion” we want
– We don’t like feeling “hand-cuffed” by the contract
– “These issues” (unfair, inconsistent, or heavy-handed discipline) are SMALL in number when you think about the number of employees we have – why do these issues matter so much?
– We need to know we can take disciplinary action immediately, without waiting for union representation
🔷 At its heart, negotiations between the union representatives and the Board representatives requires both a fair amount of mutual respect and also careful attention. Listening to the other side’s concerns; reading and seeking to understand their proposals; and then working to find mutually agreeable solutions.
Unfortunately, that respect and attention seems to be lacking this year. Watching bargaining, we keep thinking, “What doesn’t the Board team understand about our story and our interests? Why do they seem to minimize the importance of our proposals?”
Our JCEA team was prepared and articulate Wednesday night. The Board’s team was not.
They apparently hadn’t read the JCEA counter proposal to last week’s innovation language, so they weren’t prepared to discuss it. But equally, their questions about the educator rights proposals seemed as if they hadn’t read any of the language from the last two weeks.
Teacher Rights – The management did not offer us a counter offer. Discussions continued and the general theme of “why do we need this in the contract?” continued.
The full language of JCEA’s Article 9 proposal on Teacher Rights and Student Discipline went out to personal emails last week – please read it when you have time.
Want to take a deeper dive?
Budget questions & concerns: Despite a heavy media presence from Dr. Glass this week – nothing has been decided. JCEA will work with facts – until we have factual information from the State everything is conjecture. Scroll to the bottom of this email for a quick response form.
The issue of salary and budget is yet to come. JCEA knows we are facing challenges with the state budget due to the pandemic. But until we know actual numbers, everything is conjecture. The lack of respect and attention to detail in these issues do not bode well for conversations about money.
Those of you who were here during the last recession know very well what the stakes are for our students, our families, and ourselves. Whatever the state budget numbers are, we have to hold fast to protecting classrooms from budget cuts as much as possible. That means class sizes, instructional resources, support staff, and yes, salaries.
It is going to take work to insist that elected decision makers, whether it’s the legislature or our school board members, listen to us. It’s going to take a village, or in this case a county, to make that happen. The district is putting out doom and gloom messages to us and the community to set expectations low for funding. We need our voices and messages to be out there as well.
The state balanced their budget on the backs of students and educators ten years ago, and every year since. The $500 million dollar negative factor that is still in place cannot increase. The federal money to the states needs to be allocated to kids and public education first.
“On the Issue” bargaining summaries:
Grievance/Appeals Process (new this week)
- It is in our interest as educators to have a fair and impartial grievance process, with an impartial outside arbiter at the highest level of escalation
- We spend months and tons of energy negotiating the contract, but if we do not have a robust grievance process to actually enforce the contract when we need it, the power of our contract is undermined.
- The current grievance process is a closed loop – discipline starts with building admin and ends with administrators at the head shed. We USED to have an impartial outside arbiter, but we lost that with the bad board
- The JPS team wanted clarification on how widespread the numbers are of escalated grievances, but we feel that even if the number of cases is small, it will always have a huge impact on teachers who are denied fair due process
- Several members of the JPS team appeared to nominally share our interest, we will see if they still feel the same way when they return next week
Teacher Discipline (revisited)
- The Board team is seeking “flexibility and discretion” so they can control the teacher discipline process, they referenced that when admin disciplines students, they can and do use their own subjective discretion, so why can’t they do that with teachers? Well, for one thing, we are professionals, not children!
- We want explicit and fair policy written into our legally-binding CBA, so that we do not have to rely on the subjective and arbitrary application of JPS board policy by school and central administration
- It is in our mutual interest to have language and systems set up so that it doesn’t matter who is in what role in employee relations or as our principal, they will have to abide by the contract language no matter what.
Innovation School Language (revisited)
- The district still doesn’t understand that opening a backdoor to undermine our contract is a big deal to us
- We want to make sure that teachers are aware of their rights and make informed decisions before voting to become an innovation school
- We want to know if there is a review process down the line for innovation schools? What if in 3 years, the staff is completely different? Would they need to vote again?
- We asked David Bell, the JPS Chief of HR, if he would be open to having a meeting between JCEA, JESPA, and JPS leadership to discuss possible common contract language around innovation, but he dismissed this idea outright
Sick Leave Bank (revisited)
- JCEA wants to make sure the policy is flexible and takes into account usage to attend the needs of our families, similar to the use of FMLA leave
- JCEA wants to make sure that if the sick bank days are exhausted, there will be a way to replenish the bank, instead of ending the program as the Board team proposed
- The Board team seems like they didn’t want to outright say it, but they implied that they are concerned that the sick leave bank may be abused
- David Bell believes that our current offering of sick leave and short-term disability is “rich” and above “industry standards”, so we should be happy with whatever we are offered regarding sick leave bank
Remote online learning MOU
Dr. Glass has shared his budget opinions.
Click HERE to watch a 3 minute
response from John Ford.
Click HERE to share your initial response.