Our AFSCME colleagues could use our support in settling their contract. Read their letter to SPFE members below.
Dear SPFE Members,
We, the members of the AFSCME Local 844 bargaining team, are writing to share with you our struggle with negotiations with the district this year. We have been bargaining since April and have met 9 times. In June the district filed for mediation and we met for a single mediation session. They were unwilling to move on any of our remaining issues nor their financial proposal. At the end of the day, we told them that we would take their lousy last proposal for a vote. On Tuesday September 27th our membership overwhelming voted down that proposal and authorized a strike.
Some of you may be unfamiliar with all of different positions within the district that we represent. To that end we have attached a document of our different positions.
To show the district and community our commitment, we are planning for a rally before the next school board meeting on October 11. We will meet in the parking lot at 360 Colborne at 5:00 and participate in public comment to the board at 5:30.
Following is a summary of all open issues we are still hoping to bargain and fight for:
Wages – The district is holding to 1.5% including Medical Insurance Increases. Given rising costs of Medical Insurance in the past 5 years, wages have been effectively declining. The district is not willing to increase to 2% that was negotiated with SPFE.
Remote Work / Snow Days – While the district has negotiated what e-learning days look like for teachers, our members working conditions are up to the whim of their principals and managers, leading to different experiences across the district. The district has also negotiated with the custodians that they will get time and a half for coming in on snow days but when our members are required to come in, they get paid straight time on these same days.
Training – Over the past decade and beyond of bargaining we have tried many approaches to get first word of language in the contract on how training will happen for new hires and current employees. This has led to various approaches for training across our bargaining unit with the most common result is that new hires are left to figure it out on their own and are often the only person in the building that does that job.
Onboarding – During the pandemic new employee orientation stopped altogether. HR gave us details of a plan for restarting onboarding which turned into in person onboarding only for teachers while the rest of the units would get a powerpoint to look through but no one to go through benefits in person.
Civil Service Rules – The district wants us to give up Civil Service rules for the hiring of our positions. This will and already has lead to in other bargaining units the hiring of management’s friends and family that are unqualified for key positions. As well, we would be giving up our promotional rights to get promoted prior to a job being filled with an external candidate. While we were willing to work on making common sense reforms, their only answer was to pause civil service rules for 2 years to “see how it goes”.
AFSCME Local 844 Bargaining Team,