May 8 & 9, 2017 Bargaining Sessions
Your bargaining team met with the PPS team for two straight days on Monday, May 8th and Tuesday, May 9th. As with many of the Bargaining Briefs you have received, we have to report that there were significant differences exposed as well as progress in a few areas.
The two teams met in small groups made up of four members from each side, while other PAT team members worked on possible responses to proposals and ideas offered in the small group sessions.
The primary difficulties we encountered relate to Article 5. As of the close of bargaining on May 9th, we have disagreements about the length of the year, the future of Appendix F (MOU “Workload”), class size in high school, middle school and elementary schools as well as caseloads and educator ratios for areas such as special education and guidance counselors.
The current language in our 2013 -2016 Contract, Article 5, states that the district may move from a 190-day year to a 192-day year “provided that extended days would have to be cut prior to a reduction in staffing levels.” (Article 5.B.2.a p.10) Despite facing a reduction in force next year, the district is insisting that the length of the year stay at 192. In fact, PPS has already published a 192-day calendar for 2017 – 2018 school year.
PPS is also demanding that the language that protects high school class size be entirely removed from the contract. Like the imposition of the length of the work year, PPS is implementing a reduction in high school staffing that violates Appendix F and the workload provisions of the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
PPS is demanding that all current language related to general district-wide workload must be removed from our contract. Although we were aware the district hoped for this type of change, the tone related to this issue changed dramatically over the two-day bargain.
PPS was willing to enter into a conversation related to class size, but the district’s version is one that may actually make matters worse for students and educators. What was clear is that PPS feels that basic cost of living raises can be used to purchase roll-backs regarding reasonable workload provisions currently in our contract. Considering the membership of the PAT was about an hour from strike over this very issue in 2013, it is disconcerting to see the district taking this approach to negotiations.
In addition to the workload proposals from PPS, the district’s team also proposed that the contract should allow for unlimited make-up days for snow-days. Both sides agreed to language that made improvements to the evaluation rubric, joint training on the contract, and an increase in dental insurance.
You PAT team will work with attorneys from the OEA about how to address the imposition of terms, and we will meet with the district’s team again on May 15th.
BUILDING ORGANIZERS are reminded that there is a meeting at the PAT office on Wednesday, May 17th at 4:30 pm to get a full bargaining update and to discuss PAT plans for the end of the year and possibly the start of next year.
PAT Bargaining Team
Al Rabchuk, Math, Wilson HS