Dear Unite Summit members,
Today, we all received a notification from Summit that our salaries would be frozen.
To put it very plainly, this was illegal.
Summit absolutely cannot unilaterally freeze our pay — any changes to pay must be negotiated with our union. One of the reasons we unionized was so that decisions like this could not happen without teacher agreement.
Our bargaining team and elected site reps are having an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss next steps, but we wanted to first assure you that any freeze in pay would not happen without negotiations.
We also believe a pay freeze would be unnecessary. Summit is building its budget around the Governor’s May proposal to cut education funding by 10% — even though the Senate and Assembly passed a budget last week with no cuts to education funding. This week, the legislature and Governor are in budget negotiations.
Additionally, as the New York Times reported last week, Summit received an almost $7 million forgivable loan from the federal government under the Paycheck Protection Program (which is intended for small businesses who are facing economic hardship due to COVID-19).
We sent the below email to Summit’s bargaining team informing them that our pay cannot be frozen without negotiating with us and requesting additional financial information.
If you have additional comments or concerns, please reach out to your site rep or bargaining team.
We also encourage you to attend the SPS Board meeting via zoom at noon on Thursday, June 25.
Bargaining is absolutely required to freeze salaries in our bargaining unit — keeping the salaries at current levels is not the status quo. The status quo against which an employer’s conduct is evaluated must take into account the regular and consistent past patterns of terms and conditions of employment. California State Employees Association, CSU Division, SEIU Local 100, AFL-CIO v. Public Employment Relations Board (1996) 51 Cal.App.4th 923, 937; Pajaro Valley Unified School District (1978) PERB Decision No. 51. Under the “dynamic status quo” concept, a change can be a normal part of the pattern of conduct between an employer and a union, and changes consistent with such a pattern are not modifications of the status quo. Regents of the University of California (1996) PERB Decision No. 1169-H, at p. 4. Summit has already sent offer letters for next year based on the compensation consensus process (which in and of itself was part of the dynamic status quo) which includes a 2.98% across the board raise, a 4% step raise (depending on teacher performance and when they were hired), and a Summit experience stipend. Absent bargaining, Summit is required to maintain pay raises consistent with its past practice and must therefore honor the compensation outlined in the offer letters sent out earlier this year
Furthermore, we believe it is unnecessary to agree to any pay freezes for our bargaining unit at this juncture given that state and federal funding for next school year remains so unclear. As you know, the Governor and the State Legislature are currently in budget talks with the hopes of passing a state budget in the coming days. The assumption of a 10% cut in state funding is unreasonable at this time.
Additionally, before engaging in any bargaining, we will also need substantially more information including:
- The proposed budgets for each California school
- The size of the budget deficit with and without the pay freeze for our bargaining unit
- The cost of the bargaining unit pay freeze
- A list of any other cuts or freezes to non-bargaining unit members
- A clarification of the makeup of the home office reserves. What portion of those reserves is from public funding? Is the over $2 million of home office reserves being transferred to the Marshal Street project from public money or philanthropy?
- How does the almost $7 million in Paycheck Protection Program money impact the deficit? How much of that money is being used on salaries?
We expect that you will not conduct any further communication with our members regarding any potential pay freeze and that you will not send out new offer letters that reflect this unilateral change.
We continue to be available to meet and negotiate, and believe those negotiations will be less speculative once we have a clearer picture of education funding in the coming month.
US Bargaining Team