Dear PAT Partners:
Your PAT bargaining Team met with the District team on Wednesday, May 19 (Part 1, Part 2) for a half-day session, and again on Friday, May 21 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7) for a full day of negotiations.
Wednesday’s efforts can be characterized as frustrating. The District essentially rejected all aspects of the PAT proposals, and when they finally introduced some proposals of their own (“Article 7 – District Proposal” and “Early Retirement Incentive - District Proposal”), they amounted to significant take-backs.
Your PAT Team’s proposal regarding workload is an attempt to address problems with the Article 8 workload section known as Overages. PAT’s proposal wanted to make sure that all job classifications had workload protection, sought to create a true representation of the work being done by educators, and aimed to reduce the dollar amount of any dispute that might arise by turning the payment into a monthly calculation rather than two half-year calculations as they are now. In response, PPS rejected all but the inclusion of the additional job classifications. The District is well aware that they have failed to honestly live by their prior agreements on workload, and their proposal simply doubled-down on the desire to continue to take advantage of PAT members.
On Wednesday, your PAT Team also received essentially a rejection of your early retirement proposal. Happily, we finally received the District’s proposal regarding Middle School redesign. The District has now reduced its concepts down to Middle School planning minutes. PPS offered a proposal on planning minutes for Middle School staff equal to that of elementary school educators, even though that amount of time is a reduction in the total minutes per week that Middle School educators already receive. On Friday, we countered this by pointing out that PAT is open to making Middle School and Elementary School PAT members have equal planning minutes, but that the minimum number of minutes for Elementary School educators would have to increase to accomplish that rather than arriving at that goal by making Middle School educators’ jobs more difficult.
Wednesday ended without a District response to the PAT set of proposals regarding support for educators of color, and without a submission from the District of what the District seeks to change with Article 9 and the Student Rights and Responsibility Handbook. Needless to say, we could not negotiate or discuss proposals that we did not have, and we again asked the District to provide the response and the proposal.
Friday, May 21, was strangely an improvement over what happened on Wednesday. Although there were no significant agreements reached, PAT finally received a response from the District (“District Counter (Partial)- Educators of Color” and “District Counter Turnover”) regarding our proposals to support educators of color.
Your PAT Team was very happy to finally receive a response; however it was clear from the discussions that PPS didn’t take the time to understand the PAT proposals. To begin with, the District didn’t realize that the PAT proposal to add specifics to the M.7.1 current language was part of the supports for educators of color package. In addition, after positive discussions with District representatives on topics like Peer Support, affinity group facilitation stipends, the bilingual educator stipends, schools with high educator turnover, and finally, grow your own proposals, your PAT Team and the District Team realized that PPS needed to reexamine its counter proposals. That is NOT a negative development, but after four negotiation sessions, your PAT Team hoped that the discussions about our proposals would be more on-point. It is now clear that PPS clearly desires to engage in real discussions on these topics, and is willing to bring the PPS leaders to the table who are working to improve District efforts.
Also on Friday, your PAT Team gave the District counters to the rejections that we received on Wednesday. Essentially, we resubmitted our proposals (“PAT Counter to Early Retirement”, “PAT Article 7 Counter”, and “PAT Counter to District Overages Counter”). The reason for the resubmission of our positions is that PPS seems to feel that the proposals on these topics were somehow part of a traditional give and take, and not a clear expression of PAT member needs. Finally, your PAT Team offered counter proposals (“PAT Counter to District Counter (Partial)- Educators of Color” and “PAT Counter to District Turnover Counter”) to the District on supporting educators of color and on high turnover schools.
Your PAT Team and the District Team will meet again on Wednesday, May 26th for a full day of bargaining.
We want to be clear to all of you, we will not enter into some form of regressive agreement in an attempt to gain fair compensation. What is obvious to anyone following bargaining is that the issues currently being introduced by PPS in this “limited bargain” are too important to ever agree to for ANY financial gain. We count on all of you to assist your Bargaining Team to help the District understand this when your organizing team calls on everyone for a show of support. By standing together we can move the District to appropriate reconsideration of its proposals and closer to the issues your PAT Team has given to the District.
Your PAT Bargaining Team-
Steve Lancaster, Chair