Bargaining Brief - April 11, 2017

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4-day Bargaining Marathon Session Has Ups and Downs

Your bargaining team spent four 10-hour days working with the District’s team last Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We conducted frank discussions, and we were able to narrow our list of unsettled issues. A big thank you to team members who gave up their entire weekend working on your behalf.

Potential “Final” Bargaining Date Set for Monday, April 17th

Our work over the past four days has brought us to a point where we may finally be able to discuss settlement packages. We have scheduled an all-day session on Monday, April 17th with the hope of finally reaching an agreement.

State and District Budget Shortages Key Obstacles to Overcome

Bargaining discussions are taking place at the same time as unassignments. We are therefore keenly aware of the probability for increased class sizes and caseloads. The team is working to mitigate these circumstances and land on a fair settlement for all. Our goal is to obtain the wages we deserve while restoring as many cut positions as possible.

Both Sides Considering a Three-Year Agreement

Both parties are looking at a three-year agreement through June 30, 2019. You have been working since July 1st without a contract. Therefore, the first year of the new contract will be mainly over when we ratify.

Thank you for Filling out the Staff Meeting and Safety Surveys

Your team presented results from our staff meeting and safety surveys. The great majority of members supported shifting some staff meeting time to PD days, even if it meant increasing the work day by a few minutes. The District had concerns about losing so much staff meeting time, so our discussions have moved to a less extreme change than what we had presented to membership. There is much more work to be done on this issue.

We also presented your safety survey results. Those results showed that a great number of buildings are still struggling with safety concerns and knowing the school climate plan. Your survey information is very helpful in supporting our proposals on safety and school climate.

Key Issues That Remain:

Salary: Both sides are looking at a three-year agreement, but the amount of the raises are still being discussed. In the past three years, PAT salaries have fallen significantly compared to other metro area districts. We have the lowest starting salary in the Metro 14 Comparable Group and are twelve out of 14 for the maximum salary. *

*Based on 190-day PAT salary schedule for PERS-adjusted salaries at the BA+0 Step A and MaxMax Benchmarks

Length of Work Year: Our current contract language requires the District to cut two days if there is a reduction in staffing. We are discussing the competing interests of having more paid instructional time vs. shifting the resources to staffing.

Workload: The District is unassigning 48 high school positions in violation of our current contract language. It is also unassigning approximately 70 other PAT positions. This obviously would increase class sizes and caseloads for all who remain. The key dispute that remains is finding the right balance between workload protections and increasing compensation. PAT is seeking to establish class size/caseload limits at all levels.

Job Security: We are trying to resolve several pending arbitrations concerning due process rights when the District is investigating members and/or terminating our members’ employment. The District is still contending that temporary professional educators have no due process right and may be fired at will.

Transfers: We are also trying to resolve pending arbitrations over unassignments and allowing outside candidates to fill positions in the internal phase of transfers. 

There are numerous issues that remain in addition to the key issues listed below. These include but are not limited to: Association Rights and Fair Share, Special Education Workload, Workday, Staff Meetings, PD days, safety, leaves, improving retirement, parking, extra duties, and evaluations. 

Stay Informed – Check your Email!

We plan to have our next bargaining update on Tuesday, April 18th.