Good day and we hope all is well.
A few items. The school district’s negotiating team, which has had its authority usurped by the city, has rejected, regrettably, every last one of our proposals — all of which are non-salary items — such as adding social workers to our schools and lowering class size. The district rejected each without rationale, either verbal or written. Over the the last three days of mediation (August 14, August 5, and August 20), in fact, the district refused to even meet face to face with us saying it was a waste of their time. (The rejected items appear below.)
We believe that each and every one of these items is good for our students, helpful to the school system and fair to our members. Please read below and judge for yourselves.
The superintendent has been a no-show throughout this process, so we do not know what she thinks of the breakdown in the mediation process. We have therefore filed a charge (PDF) at the state’s Labor Relation Commission seeking to have the departments’ team ordered back to the mediation table.
Here are the last items rejected without reason or rationale — and without a face-to-face conversation.
We believe that our proposals will move the system forward and improve the delivery of educational services for our children. We cannot, however, negotiate these items when the other side refuses to sit down and discuss them or takes a “my way or the highway” approach.
Finally, the item that has taken the most time and is arguably the most significant item of all is the issue of performance evaluation. On this both sides have clearly divergent opinions. Throughout the process we have tried to craft a proposal with procedures and protocols designed to bring out the best in teaching and learning. We want and expect good teaching and excellent teachers. If an individual’s performance has slipped and he or she needs help, we want him or her to get timely notice, good productive feedback, and sufficient time to improve. The district insultingly calls these “speedbumps.” We call them necessary, essential, and fair. See a full explanation of all of the above in the memo here (PDF).
A series of mailings are about to be sent out.
First, a membership-wide mailing has gone out with the customary beginning-of-year information, a membership card, and a quick summary of the last few days of mediation.
Second, a packet of newspapers has gone out to each Building Rep for use on Day 2, September 5, when the BTU Building Rep is allowed a 30-minute period of time to discuss union business. We send out the newspapers as a template for discussion, but they’re only a template.
Another packet containing the above-referenced letter (PDF) is, too, going out to Building Reps for discussion purposes, in order that all members can be apprised of where we are in the mediation process.
Lastly, a press release from our office (PDF) has been sent out to inform the media that we have filed an unfair labor charge at the Labor Relations Commission on the city’s failure to bargain in good faith. We are seeking that the school district be ordered back to mediation and that it conduct the process faithfully.