Bargaining Update July 17

From: Lacey Unseth [WA] [mailto:LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org]
Sent: Friday, July 17, 2015 11:14 AM
Subject: Bargaining Update July 17

Putting the district on notice

Sometimes contracts are hard to settle because no money exists to pay for the solutions required. Sometimes settlements are difficult because the other side misunderstands our resolve to fix longstanding problems that hurt our schools, our profession and our students. And occasionally, compromise is impossible because one side believes they are the boss, we are the employees, and no one is going to tell them how they’re going to run things.

It’s clear that with more than $30 million uselessly idling away in reserves, money is not the issue in Pasco. On Thursday, PAE worked to make it clear it would be a mistake to miscalculate our members’ resolve. And the district’s dog-eared mantra of “Just Say No!” isn’t going to work here anymore.

PAE emphasized that the district needs to come to the table with factual information about the district’s policies and proposals instead of misleading statements. We laid out a roadmap for honest discussion and appropriate compromise — a path that can bring both sides to a mutual agreement. We also presented an alternative vision, with escalating actions by PAE members up to and including the possibility that schools will not open on schedule in September, if they continue their attempts to obfuscate, avoid and deny.

Our bargaining team’s goal is to bring you a settlement that addresses as many of the concerns you raised as possible, including curriculum, supplies and materials; class size and caseloads; specific concerns for our counselors, specialists, bilingual and special-ed teachers; professional pay and recognition of work we often do after-hours; reduced testing; fair, professional and consistent administrative practices; and affordable, high-quality health insurance. Our message to the district is that it’s no longer business the way they’d like: it won’t work to offer us a few crumbs and then deny our key issues. We understand that these issues are important, and you expect substantial progress.

After a frank discussion Thursday morning about whether the district understands the need to find appropriate resolutions, the rest of the day was largely spent listening. PAE completed its in-depth proposal on TPEP procedures and contract language. The district team then discussed the TPEP changes they envision, including striking or limiting TPEP exemptions for ESA’s, counselors, librarians, TOSAs, instructional coaches and curriculum specialists if they provide academic instruction. The district plan would also allow teachers on focused evaluations to be forced onto the more cumbersome “comprehensive” evaluation system at the whim of their evaluator, without reason or explanation. And the district would roll back its responsibility to provide adequate professional development in advance of one’s evaluation so long as some PD is offered yearly. The district would also forego many of its obligations to share evaluation details with teachers, and end the current requirement to give a contract to second-year provisional teachers who received top-level proficient or distinguished evaluations.

It’s critical that all PAE members attend our general membership meeting, 6 p.m. Aug. 12 at 1328 N. Road 28, in Pasco, at the hall generously offered by our union brothers and sisters in Steamfitters Local 598. We’ll let you know whether a resolution is in sight, and discuss what next steps PAE members want to take, up to and including a possible strike vote if our contract issues remain unresolved. Please mark your calendars for this very important meeting. Our next bargaining session is Monday at Booth.

A special thanks for the support from our colleagues! On Thursday, Robinson sent their best wishes and appreciation, not to mention balloons and munchies, to start our bargaining team’s morning right!

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