Bargaining Brief 11.17

Although your PAT bargaining team continues to work on movement towards agreement on all open articles, the bulk of today was again spent on Article 8 (workload) - attempting to find agreement on how to provide support to educators whose teaching loads are unbearably high. Both teams met for six sidebars throughout the day, with the final meeting concluding after 11:00pm, solely around Article 8. 

We spent the entire day working on the language that would ensure there is a process to involve educator voices and families in finding ways to support our under-resourced educators. We are frankly stunned that we can’t get our employer to agree to put in writing that they will commit themselves to a good faith effort to work with us towards solving the problem of over-worked educators and under-served students in schools across the city; They still refuse to consider class size caps. We say again: our employers won’t commit themselves to making a good faith effort in vital portions of our contract. Why not? What prevents PPS management from committing to supporting teachers and students going forward?  How can such an employer be trusted to keep their word?

Our 12th day away from our students ended with progress, but not at a rate that shows a real sense of urgency.  Why is this?  One possibility might be that the PPS caucus room now appears to be occupied by an ever growing number of attorneys and senior level employees which seems to be slowing down the process. At present it is impossible for us to identify any real decision makers. Who in PPS leadership is really in charge?  Who is empowered to make decisions? We need decision makers to come ready to bargain IN GOOD FAITH, not perseverate over every word of a proposal!  

We continue to seek someone from PPS to take the lead in negotiations and demonstrate through their actions at the table that they are genuinely interested in committing to providing educators what we need to serve our students.  Surely this isn’t too much to ask.

In Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team

Steve Lancaster | Chair Teacher, Social Studies
Francisca Alvarez | K-5 Bilingual Inst. Coach
Samara Bockelman | Middle School Counselor
Julia Fogg | K-5 Instructional Coach
Thea Keith Teacher | 8th Grade Science/Health
Charity Powell Teacher | K-8 Special Education

Ryan Olds, OEA Staff
Angela Bonilla, President