Thank you to the many students, families, members, and other supporters who joyfully and peacefully supported educators today at the Fire Fighters’ Association Local 43. We are grateful to the Firefighters for hosting the recent bargaining mediation. We are also incredibly energized by your continued passion on the line. Please be assured that your bargaining team is working continuously to ensure a fair and transformative contract.
This afternoon, both parties exchanged mediation package proposals that sought to address identified priorities. The PAT proposal showed that we are bargaining in good faith on the issues of importance to management, and included a package of our articles that maintain our demands for significant improvements in:
District management passed a package proposal as well. The good news first: Talks on special education are continuing; Management has shown some movement in the right direction in the area of grading/planning days; and, for the first time in the 11 months of negotiations, they began a discussion related to class sizes.
Now for the bad news: Management’s proposal around class size and workload relief offers only token improvements in class size and makes them temporary. Their proposal on weekly planning minutes remains far below the minimum they can easily commit to, would offer no improvement for the vast majority of educators, and might actually lead to a reduction in planning time for middle school educators. Their proposal on mental health makes nothing more than an empty promise. Finally, there is NO movement on COLA.
Today was progress, but nowhere near what is needed to reach a fair settlement. We will stay at the table, look for compromise where it is possible, and unflinchingly continue to demand a REAL change from the status quo. In the meantime, your direct action and the support of our community will ensure that management is responsive to the needs of educators and the students we serve.
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Your Bargaining Team
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Ryan Olds, OEA Staff