Statement of support for our Sierra colleagues
As we prepare for bargaining, we know that our contract proposals will include guarantees around mandated working hours, which is crucial for teacher sustainability and retention. Our colleagues at Sierra are seeking similar guarantees through the compensation process, and they are concerned that they are being pressured to agree to the current compensation proposal without the inclusion of those guarantees. After multiple meetings with Diane, including one on Thursday afternoon, the Sierra staff was given 24 hours to generate a counter proposal. Diane indicated that she was likely to vote down such a proposal and said that if consensus could not be reached that the decision grid would be used to determine who has the final say.
Here is one teacher’s summary of the concerns from our Sierra colleagues:
This feels like the only opportunity to get clear expectations for mandated teacher time in writing. I want to define where the boundary of required time is and where compensation for extra time should begin.
We are united in that we want flexibility of how to use our time. We differ in how we want to spend our time. That is to be expected. We want a clear boundary and expectation addressing how much of our time is filled with mandated programming. We all seem to agree on that.
The argument seems to hinge on the debate of whether or not a boundary for mandated hours lives in a compensation policy or elsewhere. I believe that it does.
If it is decided that it does not, I need written confirmation that mandated building hours will be capped at 40 hours through scheduling. Mandated hours would be defined as the typical school day work hours plus mandatory meetings and professional development. Extra duties outside of those hours would be voluntary or given extra compensation.
We stand by our colleagues at Sierra who are seeking to follow the consensus process in good faith, and we hope their concerns will be addressed before our compensation proposal is finalized. We feel it is inappropriate for our CEO to commit to a consensus process and then to respond to disagreement by pressuring teachers to drop their concerns rather than seeking compromise.
Update on contract negotiations
Unite Summit sunshined its initial contract proposals at the special board meeting held in January. You can read our sunshine document here. This means we can begin bargaining immediately about our proposals.
Summit had initially argued that it could not start bargaining until after the regularly scheduled board meeting in March, but their most recent communication indicates that they are seeking to schedule a special board meeting in February to sunshine their own proposals (again, since we sunshined our proposals already, we can start bargaining immediately on those issues and don’t have to wait for Summit to sunshine their proposals). We expect to hear back by the end of the week regarding bargaining dates.
We’re grateful to our allies who have helped support our efforts to bring Summit to the bargaining table without delay. Assemblymember Berman is one such ally who reached out to Summit. You can read his message here.
We filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) last year about Summit’s conduct during the process to recognize our union. As you may remember, Summit administration wanted to add almost 100 home office and other administrative positions into our union and did not provide us with basic information in a timely manner.
Our charge persuaded PERB to issue a complaint on January 9, 2020 alleging that Summit broke the law by trying to include non-teaching positions in our union and not providing us information. Summit now has 20 days to respond. The PERB attorney will also be setting up an informal settlement conference (basically a mediation) to try and resolve the matter before it goes to a judge for a hearing.
We are not surprised that PERB filed a complaint, just as they did in the case of our terminated colleagues. Unite Summit will continue to push back against any delays by Summit administration that slow our efforts to protect and improve our schools.