Stories about the survey have been pouring in over the past few days about the member phone survey that SDEA is conducting. Here are a few highlights about the procedural problems with the survey:
- The questions were supposed to be approved by the SDEA Board before the survey launched. They were not.
- The SDEA Board approved the survey after it had already begun surveying members. People who took the survey before the Board approved it report receiving different questions than people who took the survey after the Board approved it, suggesting that the Board may have made changes to the survey mid-stream and kept on going. To say that this would call the validity of the survey into question is a vast understatement.
- This survey is not designed to find out IF we want to make concessions, but HOW we want to make our concessions. There was no question that was simply, “Do you want to open the contract or not?” At a union meeting last week SDEA Interim Executive Director Tom Madden said the survey was about bargaining our next contract as well, but that is not true. The questions pertain only to opening up our current contract and conceding.
- The results of the survey will not be shared with the SDEA membership, to protect our bargaining position. What bargaining position? In recent media interviews given by our union president, it could not be more clear that SDEA leadership has already made the decision to open our contract and make concessions that we don’t need to save jobs that shouldn’t be on the chopping block in the first place, and the District knows it. We as dues-paying union members deserve to know the results of this survey about our contract.
- Many teachers have told us that the people conducting the survey were unprepared, uninformed, and in many cases rude. A few have said that when they asked questions of the surveyor, they were hung up on.
- The survey was initially supposed to run through this past Sunday, but will now run through tomorrow. Information about the purpose, nature, and timeline of the survey changes daily. SDEA members should not have to sit tethered next to our telephones all weekend (and how many of us did exactly that?) for a survey that doesn’t come, just so we can get a say in whether or not we keep our pay and benefits. There is no reason this survey couldn’t have been mailed out so that we had time to read, think, research, discuss with our fellow union members, and then respond in a timely fashion.
- SDEA has said they will keep going until they hit 70% of the membership. At your school’s next staff meeting, look to your left and then look to your right. One of you won’t get a vote on whether or not SDEA gives up our core contractual rights. Is this any way to run a union?
There is no reason for our union to be rushing down the road to concessions when there are alternatives, which members are actively taking the lead in organizing behind. If you are as frustrated by the survey as other members all over the District are, contact the SDEA Board directly and let them know what you would have told the surveyors if you’d had the opportunity to actually speak your mind!