We are now fourteen months into negotiating our contract! And while we have not agreed to a final contract, we continue to work for what we believe is most important: a contract that meets the most important needs of our Summit educators, seeks common ground with Summit’s bargaining team, and makes the concessions necessary to move forward. Today we met with Summit to present three proposals which are part of the CBA. Those proposals and highlighted points are found within this newsletter update. Summit’s bargaining team argued that the following proposals presented by Unite Summit did not consist of significant movement or concessions on our part. We know that we are setting boundaries around what Summit teachers need as well as following the bargaining process defined by state law.
Below is our response to Summit’s concerns as well as the proposals themselves:
With the idea of concessions, Summit is presenting this as a “quid pro quo”, “you give so we give”, and both must move proportionally. This is not how bargaining works according to the EERA or PERB decisions. Good faith bargaining in no way requires each party to make equivalent concessions on any particular item, article or issues. It does require that the parties be willing to negotiate, and in the overall context of an entire Collective Bargaining Agreement, be able to make movement towards an agreement. Each of our proposals has taken years of time from multiple perspectives and multiple points of view. We have bargained as close to our bottom line as we can while representing the views and experience of our members. There are places where a party may not want to move and that is okay. There are things that one party will give more on and things in which that party may not make any movement at all. As we have stated before, we value the conversations and us coming together to understand each other’s perspectives. At the end of the day, we may have the same goal- making the best educational communities we can possibly offer students so they may lead successful and passion driven lives. We are making steps, and what we feel are big steps, to meet you closer while holding true to what is important to teachers. We respect that we may not agree at the end of the day. These thoughts apply to all three of our proposals today. They each represent movement–some larger movement and some smaller, but taken together they involve concessions on important items. Especially with Grievance and Technology–the bargaining history shows movement from both sides, and the possibility of coming to agreements within the context of the CBA.
Unite Summit Proposals
Today, Unite Summit presented our Grievance and Arbitration proposal, which defines the process to resolve disagreements about how the CBA is carried out. We included an additional step in the grievance and arbitration process. If a grievant is not satisfied with a decision made at level 2 which includes a site administrator or Chief Executive officer, then a decision can be decided upon by a Grievance Committee composed of 2 members appointed by Unite Summit and 2 members appointed by Summit. If the union is unsatisfied with the final decision, the grievance can be submitted to arbitration for a final decision.
Unite Summit made this movement, along with the removal of mediation, to meet the needs and wants expressed in Summit’s last proposal. This proposal is meant to find resolution within any grievance in a fair way that considers cost and timeliness.
In Calendar, Work Year, and Hours of Employment, Unite Summit proposed a decision process in regards to each site’s bell schedule. We are still asking for a work day of 8 AM – 4 AM. Each site will use LT meetings to decide by consensus a bell schedule for the upcoming academic year no later than May 1st. If consensus cannot be reached, a ⅔ majority vote will decide the next year’s bell schedule. The COO will look through the agreed upon schedule and approve it, unless the schedule does not meet instructional minute requirements or does not meet facility agreements based on local district requirements.
Technology, Resources, and Curriculum was the last proposal presented by Unite Summit today. In an effort to make significant concessions in favor of Summit Public Schools, our proposal relinquishes a unit member’s ability to choose any technology that they deem necessary for their work with the promise that Summit will provide adequate technology, curriculum, and resources to perform teacher duties.
Also, Unite Summit decided to remove our interests in regards to “transparency on student data usage” and “teacher created materials” with the promise that Summit will allow teachers to use their individually created resources and curriculum elsewhere.
Again, these changes were made in order to make significant movement that our unit members felt strongly about in order to come closer to an agreement with Summit that still protects the interests of both Summit and our unit members.
We are waiting on word from Summit on whether they can make more movement and if so will schedule another bargaining session.