Thanks so much for stopping by our coffee / T-shirt table and attending lunch meetings last week – it was lovely to see everyone! Look out for our bargaining input survey in next week’s newsletter. We will be soliciting input on the following proposals: Shared Governance, Employment Status, and Discipline and Dismissal. If you didn’t get a chance to attend one of our lunch meetings, here’s a copy of our handout for you to review.
We are continuing to prepare for our first contract negotiation session, currently scheduled for March 20. This morning, we sent to following email to Diane, Kelly, and Jimmy in response to their latest email regarding bargaining:
We’re eager to begin bargaining, and we hope Summit’s bargaining team will work with us this spring to make as much progress as possible on our first contract.
Unite Summit officially launched in January 2019. Since then, we’ve worked to gather input, name a bargaining team, and draft contract proposals. We’re happy that the year of legal delays we faced in gaining recognition is over and that we are now moving into a phase where we’re all working hard toward negotiating a contract that will meet our three primary goals: improving support services for students, strengthening teacher retention, and providing an increased voice for teachers in decision-making.
Teachers have expressed frustration with the way in which consensus-based decision-making has been employed this school year, and it’s clear our faculty is not satisfied with the status quo. Our current use of consensus does not acknowledge the power imbalances inherent in our hierarchy; teachers have reported not feeling like their voices matter in the decision-making process. Due to these concerns, Shared Governance is one of the proposals we will be soliciting input on in our next survey.
We know all the issues that matter to our teachers aren’t encompassed in the compensation process, so we’re excited to start bargaining with proposals on subjects like support services for students and academic freedom for teachers. We hope opening up a wider discussion will address concerns and lead to meaningful change.
As we enter into negotiations, we’d like to reiterate that Unite Summit is the exclusive representative of our bargaining unit. Meeting as equals at the bargaining table means preparing for bargaining in a way that allows Unite Summit to function as the voice of teachers. We ask that you acknowledge that collective bargaining is a change in the way our organization operates — a change our faculty fought for — and that you respect our bargaining team’s role as elected representatives tasked with gathering input and shaping teacher-led proposals.
As always, if you have questions, please reach out to your site reps or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!