Source: AEA Flyer Distributed 2/07
The Alameda Education Association represents teachers, speech therapists, nurses and counselors. In the last four years, Alameda staff has received one pay raise. That raise, for the 2005-2006 school year was won through arbitration. The average increase for our employees has been 1% for the last four years. The certificated staff represented by the association has declined by ten full time positions this year. Our members have seen their annual out-of-pocket contribution to helath care soar to as much as $8070.
The District has received a fully funded 5.92% Cost of Living Adjustement (COLA) as well as equalization funding which resulted in an over 8% increase in per student funding over last year. School communities should be able to breathe a sigh of relief in an 8% growth year. Even when adjusted to account for the decline in enrollment. AUSD's public servants deserve a salary adjustment to keep up the cost of living.
Instead, the District was caught short again, again, and is dragging us all through painful, scary, 'hearings' to discuss cuts:
Evidently, AUSD has failed to budget adequately for employee compensation that was bargained for in 2004 and that had to be enforced through costly arbitration. We keep hearing that the declining enrollment is to blame. Cut teachers, counselors, career-techs and student centered programs, and then see what happens to enrollment.
Source: AEA Pop Quiz Distributed 2/07
1.) In a year the State Budget gives Education an 8% per student funding increase, Alameda teachers and other school-based servants deserve:
B. 1% - 2%
C. 3% - 4%
*Current projections of funds potentially available for employee raises, according to AUSD Board Report on finances, 2/13/07
(BTW average teachers' settlement for Alameda County for 2006/07 is 5.68%. That includes other districts with declining enrollment!)
February 13, 2007
The District came to the table today empty-handed which limited our face-to-face negotiations to one-half day. As of the end of our bargaining session, AEA is now waiting for the District to respond to the following articles: 12 – Health and Welfare; 14 Salary; and 29 - Technology. In addition, the District is working on proposals from their sunshine for the following articles: 8 – In-Lieu and Collaboration; and 10 – Teacher Transfer.
Articles presented by AUSD: NONE
Articles presented by AEA: Article 13 (Safety) and Article 29 (Technology)
What's Next (3/1/2007):
The District has committed to respond to Article 13 (Safety) and Article 29 (Technology) at our next session. Additionally, they hope to provide a response to Article 12 (Health and Welfare) and Article 14 (Salary). They committed to coming prepared for a full day of bargaining. AEA has no outstanding articles to address until the district brings something to the table.
Food for Thought:
In the past four years living expense have increase significantly. For three of those four years, your salary has not increased at all. The 3.9% we've finally received for one of those years averages to approximately 1% per year. Can you continue to meet your personal obligation at this level?
Do you know how many AEA members are now paying as much as $8,070 out-of-pocket toward their annual health care benefits? This is a HUGE chunk compared to five years ago.
March 1, 2007
The District made a couple of SMALL concessions when they presented their latest counter proposal for Articles 13 - Safety and 29 - Technology. Your AEA team was able to immediately respond to their counter on safety. We are still reviewing and considering their technology proposal. AEA has provided the District with comparable data on salary schedules and recent pay increasse for surounding districts. AUSD has not yet given a written salary / benefit proposal.
Articles presented by AUSD: Article 13 (Safety) and Article 29 (Technology)
Articles presented by AEA: Article 13 (Safety)
What's Next (3/13/2007): We continue to wait for the District to respond the mulitple articles that remain on their side of the table. No firm commitment has been made for our negotiations on the 13th. (Tick - Tock ... Tick - Tock ... Tick - Tock)
Food for Thought:
It's been one year to the day since negotiations began. Progress has been slow up to this point. AUSD and AEA have met at the table 17 TIMES!!! We have tentative agreements on ONLY 3 (out of the 10) Articles that were sunshined over a year ago. And,... we continue to work under an expired contract.Help ensure the results you asked your bargaining team to obtain on you behalf. When conacted by a CAT team members, let them know you will enthusiastically participate in all CAT actions. Thanks to all who wore red on the 1st.
To: AEA members
February was extraordianry complex.
On January 29th, AUSD told AEA and the community of its intention to close a middle school, among other drastic budget cutting measures.
On January 31st, all seven AEA Executive Board members signed and distributed to our membership a "Silence is Consent" flyer; informing everyone of the proposed cuts; identifying by name, address, e-mail adress and telephone number the six people whose decisions would ultimately matter; and encouraging our members to communicate directly to those six the central message that any potential cuts has to respect the schools and those who serve children there.
On February 5th, at the public hearing held at Wood Middle School, AEA delicately declined either to confirm or contradict AUSD's budgetary figures, while reasserting our judgment that the principal "Core value" in all of this is to value the core: schools and the men and women who there serve children directly - in whatever capacity - instructional, secretarial, janitoral, etc.
On February 13th
As had been the case at several public hearing on the budget cuts, AEA members at the February 13th Board meeting addressed the power structure eloquently and persuasively on behalf of and in defense of our children's education, much as AEA had hoped and known they would when we first advocated such action in our "Silence is Consent" effort.
On February 20th, AEA began an informational campaign (bright yellow flyers [cut the 1/4 sheets and distribute to friends, relatives, coffee shops, community members, etc.] designed to educate people in and out of the association as to the justice of our demanding an increase in our compensation. The timing of all of this have been very, very delicate. We have needed to begin to get people involved in supporting the bargaining effort, lest we be overwhlemed by the district's organizing efforts. At the same time, we have needed to excerise disciplined self-constraint in light of the budget cuts.
The February 27th Board of Education meeting was most volatile, with all of the high emotions ncessarily connected to program cuts and job losses. AEA had a real and important role at that meeting: to defend children and the men and women who directly serve them in their schools. AEA next critical role is to defend those public servants at the table.
Thank and support your site leaders, bargaining team, executive board. Be gentle with them and with each other. Join the CAT effort. And take care of yourselves. We're going to need you to be rested, re-charged and ready if things heat up!!!
March 29, 2007
At the core (negotiations so far):
Elementary Teachers Watch Out!!!
Middle and High pay attention ... you may be next
An injury to one is an injury to all
Today the district bought forth their salary and benefits package proposal to be paid form in large part, by the elementary school teachers. The District's philosophy is that teachers must pay (and then some) for any salary and benefits increase that they receive. The District is proposing that preparation time for elementary teachers be decreased by 1/4 to 1/2, depending upon grade level! Elementary teachers will also see an over 40% increase in their total extra duty hours. The District wants to brutally restrict ways for all teachers to receive in-lieu compensation. Additionally, part of their proposal mandates district-directed collaboration time. Since this will occur during the instructional day, the minutes will come from: students losing recess time, extension of the duty day, and ...?
So, what are they offering to compensate us for what we will lose?
In essence, their communications today strongly implies that Alameda teachers should be giving the district something for the privilege of teaching in AUSD. Their compensation proposal is dependent upon moving money around within the contract. They want us to pay for any raise in salary and/or benefits by increasing our work hours (i.e. each of us takes a pay cut).
Your Core Action Team (CAT) will be providing you information on the impasse process. Additional actions and information will be forthcoming from CAT. If you are not aware of who your CAT site representative is, find out!
Thanks to all AEA members who continue to show solidarity by wearing red each Thursday. As we move through this process, your support will make a difference.
To: Alameda Board of Education
For some year now, AUSD has made a big, showy fuss about rising test scores. The community is finally starting to understand and use terms like "AYP" and "comparison band". For some years now, AUSD has also made a big, showy fuss about its limited access to funds. The community is also finally starting to understand and use terms like "BRL" and "deficit reduction".
What the community has, perhaps, yet not come to comprehend is the degree to which you depend on us in the former endeavor, and the degree to which we depend on you in the latter - or the degree to which you are letting us down.
Your test scores would go nowhere without our talent, effort and sacrifice in the classroom. On the other hand, we can't get a raise, other than at the the stingy AUSD bargaining table.
In the leanest years, when the state fails to increase its education funding, we're out of luck - you and we together - so all we can do is grit our teeth, do our work, and wait it out. In other years, when the funds flow more freely - like this one, in which Alameda's per-pupil funding increased 8% - we rely on you to provide us with our fair share of the long-awaited bounty.
There was considerable confusion earlier this year - and some of it persists to this day - as to when you last fulfilled your obligation to pay the people doing the work around here. By the way, it is not to be forgotten that the confusion derived (and derives) from what people heard you say, and not from anthing we said or did. In any case, the money people are mistakenly thinking about - we got some of it last November and we still haven't gotten the rest of it - was promised to use nearly three years ago and was supposed to be paid to us nearly two years ago. Promised in '04 and paid in '05.
You failed us then. The entire calendar year of 2005 went by, without us seeing as much as a penny's increase. Of course, during this time - as AUSD's Chief Financial Officer is fond of pointing out - the cost of living around here kept going up and up.
You are, futhermore, failing us - again - now. We are being offered 0% in this year of abundant increase.
If the vaunted test scors are supposed to indicate the quality of education (a dubious supposition but one in which you apparently believe) - we have never failed you, or our community, or or community's children. Their test scores keep going up and up and up, becuase of the work we are doing. You rely on us to take care of the children. We are holding up our end of the bargain.
Yet, our compensation flatlines. While we take care of the community's children, we rely on you to take care of business and, in particular, to take care of us. You are failing to hold up your end.
You owe us.
An acknowledgement of AUSD's habitual failure.
To: Ardella Dailey, Superintendent, Alameda Unified Schools
I saw in the paper the other day that Alameda's children are still staying ahead of the statewide testing curve.
And it's because of us.
Alameda's children are steadily pulling away from the statewide pack, because of us.
Not because of, but rather in spite of the assessment bandwagon onto to which AUSD has jumped with such fervor. Not because of, but rather in spite of AUSD's consultants, facilities management, and technological investment and implementation.
Our children are developing competence and confidence as talented, well-rounded citizens because of the hard work and sacrifice of their families in their homes; of their ministers in their place of worship; of their coaches and mentors in their extra-curricular endeavors; of their employers and manager on their jobs; and of their teachers and counselors, coaches and paraprofessionals, support personnel and administrators in their schools.
You speak often of responsiblity, I believe we are meeting ours.
I also know that, in the exercise of your own responsibility, you are making strides to address some of the historical impediments to efficiency named above, and I appreciate it and thank you for it.
I'm here to remind you, however, that you also have a responsibility to protect working conditions of those who serve Alameda's children in our schools, and to provide compensation sufficient to attract the best educators and to retain us here.
Inexplicabily - some would say undeservedly - Alameda has been blessed by some of the very best educators coming here to serve. My colleagues are amazing.
Yet, AUSD consistently demonstrates a stubborn inability or refusal to acknowledge that we are the reason for the success of our local schools.
We must be made your number-one priority when allocating funding increases.
We are currently prioritized last -that is, not at all.
In light of your commitment to responsibility, to respect, and to relationship, how can you can say "0%" with a straight face?
Source:PERB 1510, filed by CTA on April 5, 2006
Request for Impasse Determination/Appointment of Mediator
HISTORY OF NEGOTIATIONS/MEET AND CONFER
Date of first negotiations session: March 1, 2006
Approximate total number of hours spent in negotiations: 95 hours
Total number of negotiating sessions : 19
STAUS OF NEGOTIATIONS/MEET AND CONFER
Date impasse by a party/parties pursatn to PERB Regulation 3729(a): March 29, 2007
Number of issues on which the parties have reached tentative agreement: 4
Issues on which tentative agreement has been reached: Calendar, Discipline Article Evaluation Article, and Special Education Article
Totla number of unresolved issues which remain in dispute: 7
Issues which remain in dispute: Teacher Hours, transfer, Safety, Technology, Salary, health and Welfare Benefits and Appendices
STATEMENT OF FACTS
The parties started negotiations in March, 2006. The collective bargaining process agreement expired in June, 2006. There have been 19 sessions. One session was cancelled by the District (March 13, 2007), in order to prepare a proposal on salary and benefits. Of the issues that the Union proposed, there are four that remain in dispute: Salary, Benefits, Safety and Technology. The Union's Salary and Benefits proposal was given verbally on January 12, 2007 and in writing in January 31, 2007. The District's Salary and Benefits Proposal was presented on March 29, 20007 and was attached to a drastic reduction on preparation time that had not included in prior proposals. The District Salary proposal was repsented nearly two months after the made it proposal and over a year after the start of negotiations.
Currently the District has proposals on Salary, Benefits, Transfer, and Hours that are in dispute. The Hours Article contains issues on Collaboration, In-Lieu Time, and Preparation time in which the parties are very far apart. The parties reviewed the Appendices, but the District has made no prospoal regarding changes to the APpendices or term of the agreement.
The Union declared impasse on March 29, 2007. There has been very little progress in one year of bargianing and the District ahs been very slow to respond to the Union's proposals and counters. The length of bargaining, lack of progress and the final attack on elementary preparation time have damaged the bargaining atmosphere to the point that the Union believes that no further progress can be made with the aid of a mediator.
To: AEA Members
My last newsletter mentioned the District's Public Relations advantage concerning our current bargaining position. I have been encouraged to share with our membership a recent interchange with a parent / community member which highlights a number of the challenges we are facing in this regard.
I have cut and pasted the individual's letter below, deleting only the name, in the interest of the writer's privacy.
AEA's response is below that letter.
Please be sure to exercise kindness and consideration with our children and their families as we move forward.
I think we all have to face hard core facts as you have designated them in your hand out this morning.
I, as an Alameda parent, will not receive a pay raise next year. However, if you receive a pay raise, my taxes will go up for that raise. I do not have a COLA nor do I have two months off each year. In fact, in the past five years, I've have not been to afford a one week vacation let alone a two month vacation.
Moreover, a pay raise for teachers -- who were recently given a pay raise -- will morally and financially bankrupt the district, leaving us at the mercy of a state regulator.
The most important point is that there is no way that my child should be factored into your disputes with your employers. There is no way that my child should be factored in my dispute with my employer so why would sanction you, a teacher, to factor her into your dispute. All such political diatribes which make my child feel regretful that she has not worn red in soldidarity with a financial dispute the teachers have.
Please discontinue this practice to involve children in your political dispute.
Dear mr, xxx,
I appreciate you having been in touch with us to share your concerns about our recent efforts to inform our community about our gridlock with the District.
I'm not sure what a United American Field Representative is, but I'm relatively certain that our two industries are significantly different from each other in a number of important ways. The contrast illuminated in your letter between our working conditions may or may not be relevant, but I thank you for sharing them just the same. A number of other contrasts should probably be kept in mind.
As public servants, when it comes to our working conditions and compensation, we depend on our elected trustees. There are not stockholders' oversight mechanisms or anything like that. We have to make sure that AUSD is taking care of business, even as we strive to handle the overwhelming task of delivering the very service that is the central business of the entire enterprise: the education of children like yours.
Furthemore, we have no access to stock options, or to commissions, or to bonuses, or to any other ancillary incentives common in other sectors, and our our access to raises is to whose were are able to wrest from the remarkably ungenerous clutches of our fiscal overlords.
You say in your letter that if we receive a pay raise, your taxes will go up for the raise. On the one hand, that might not be a total injustice, in that you are, as the parent of one or more students, the direct beneficiary of our labor. On the other hand, in our current negotiations, we are simply demanding a fair share of funds already sent by the State of California to Alameda Unified, for the express purpose of addressing the rising cost of living. Any potential impact to your taxes - or on ours - is already a 'given'. The only real question is whether or not you - or we - will receive from our sacrifice what we intended when the State designated the funds.
You also state that the teachers were recently given a pay raise. You must be referring to the District's agreement in June of 2004 to give us a raise in August 2005, after denying us any increase for the '03-'04 or '04-05 school years. There's nothing really all that 'recent' about June '04 or August '05. On the other hand, the District refused to honor even the first fraction of its commitment until November, 2006 (I'm sure that's what you meant in your inaccurate reference), and is only living up to the rest of its debt today (30 April 2007), when the last fraction of the July 2004 promise will hit our paychecks (without, by the way, any accounting for the interest owed on the money owe so long withheld, or any penalty of any kind for the unconscionable delay in delivery). I wonder what United American would say if it debts were as deliquent in honoring their contractual obiligations.
You additionally claim that a raise for teacher would "morally and financially bankrupt the district". The "moral" piece lose me entierly; as for the "financial" aspect, the District received an 8% per student increase in State funding this year. We are their primary resource. Yet, they claim only to be able to offer us 0%. Doesn't that make you wonder about their financial practices?
Finally, you express your concern about the impact of our "poitcial diatribe" on your child. Our statement was, verbatim, "Alameda teachers deserve a fair contract." I do not know your child's grade level, but I can't imagine "fairness" ever being an age-inappropriate concept. In any case, we are wearing red, but we are not asking that children do so. It is not part of our design that any child be made to fell "regretful" about anything, and I regret it if your child felt that way.
Earl Rivard, President, Alameda Education Association
To: AUSD Board of Education, Ardella Dailey, Superintendent, Brandon Krueger, Chief Negotiator
How to communicate, or even simply to reconcile, the polyvalence of this extraordinary complex moment?
Relief, to be sure, that the impasse has been resolved in mediation. I know of few who looked who looked eagerly forward to the inceritude of fact-finding or to the vicissitudes of a possible strike.
Admiration, to our Bargaining team's incredibly assiduous and effective work in the negotiating sessions.
Gratitude to our Executive Board for recommending ratification and to our members for having so overwhelmingly supported both our Bargaining Team and our Executive Board in their ratification vote.
Apprecation for the ways in which Ms. Dailey still proves authentically to want to work from a platfrom of respect, responsibility and relationship.
For Mr. Krueger's contract-cnetered, teacher-sensitive work ethic.
For the transparent work done by Luz Cazares, AUSD's Chief Financial Officer.
For the respect for teachers shown by most of the School Board most of the time.
Awareness of the stubbornly cold, dark shadows still being cast by previous AUSD powerbrokers, despite the laudable efforts at reform credited to those listed above.
Hope that the Board will approve the now-ratified agreement.
That the County will concur.
And, yet, an inescapable, residual sense of justice miscarried, threatening somehow to dilute all the positivity.
Had AUSD responded more nimbly to the reality of declining enrollment, had it been more forthright at the time we originally bargained the salary formula; had it equivocated less in executing the formula, embracing the formula's logical consequences before being forced to do so in arbitration; had AUSD therefore paid us in 05-06 that to which we were contractually entitled at that time, re-prioritizing its workforce and adjusting its other expenditures accordingly, AEA would have been secure for our members some fair share of the 8% per student increase in funding which flowed into the District this fiscal year. As it stands, we were able to get them nothing for this year - a zero percent increase salary increase for 2006-2007. Second-highest per-student increase in the County, yet last to settle, and the only agreement in which the teachers were forced to settle for 0%, the average Alameda County teachers' settlement having been for over 6% (though most of those districts are also seeing their enrollment decline). That 85% ratification result is perhaps best understood as an amazing show of internal solidarity, not to be over-interpreted as satisifaction with the negotiated outcomes.
How, indeed, to come to peace with such complexity?
Might one not at least hope for a sincere pubilc apology and a firm public commitment never again to balance it all on the presumption of our sacrifice? Perhaps contray to the historical evidence, the teachers' good will cannot be counted on in perpetuity, our passionate dedication to the children of the community notwithstanding.
CC: AEA members
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