A few hours ago, thirteen members of the SDEA Board emailed the entire SDEA membership informing us that they have voted to “bargain over limited issues” with the District “in an effort to stop layoffs.”
Let us all be absolutely clear about what this means: The SDEA Board has voted to open our contract and bargain concessions, no matter what other words they may use to describe the process. The SDEA Board made this decision without first obtaining the approval of the SDEA membership. This is despite repeated assurances from SDEA President Bill Freeman all year that he would not open the contract and make concessions unless the membership decided to do so. Instead, tonight a dozen people decided to bargain away the hard-fought pay of thousands — without even waiting to see what the June 30 final state budget will contain, andwithout any guarantee that these negotiations will bring back all or even most of the laid off educators from this year or last year.
Our union leadership lied to us. They opened our contract without our approval. But we can close it.
The SDEA Board cannot finalize this deal without a ratification approval vote of the entire membership. We have some real work to do — the work our union should have been doing since March — to keep our contract from being gutted and our fellow educators from being hung out to dry.
1. Sign up — Make sure you and every member you know is signed up for the Breakfast Club mailing list so we can stay in touch in the summer months as events unfold.
2. Show up — Make sure your school has a delegate in attendance at the very first union-wide Breakfast Club meeting — Monday, June 11 at 4 p.m. We need all hands on deck if we are going to turn things around in our union. Email to let us know who is coming from your school, and we will send you the location.
This is the beginning, not the end.
The Breakfast Club Action Group
For those of you catching up, here is a synopsis of what has happened in the last three days:
Tuesday — The SDEA Board voted in open session to bargain concessions only if 70% of SDEA members were polled and agreed to bargaining concessions. The Board agreed to meet after Wednesday’s Rep. Council to appoint a bargaining team.
Wednesday — The SDEA Rep. Council (the monthly union meeting where every school has a representative) expressed widespread anger about the flaws of the phone survey, and demanded a better system for collecting members’ input. Late in the meeting a motion was made to halt the survey entirely and replace it with an improved process; the motion failed 46-45. SDEA President made no mention to the Rep. Council about the Board’s vote the previous night to approve bargaining concessions. After Rep. Council, SDEA President Bill Freeman canceled the Board’s scheduled meeting to appoint a bargaining team.
Thursday — The SDEA Board held another emergency Board meeting and conducted all of the business of the meeting in closed session. In the past, bargaining discussions have taken place in closed session, but the votes themselves have always been conducted in open session. Tonight the Board conducted their voting in closed session despite more than 30 SDEA members who showed up at the meeting to observe. During open session, Bill Freeman stated that the all-member phone survey is now being “set aside.” That conflicts with Tuesday’s Board vote, Wednesday’s Rep. Council vote, and all of the information provided to SDEA members to date. After the meeting, the SDEA Board emailed the membership stating that they had authorized bargaining concessions with the District, despite the lack of completion of the member survey and despite any assurance that these concessions will result in all or even most of our laid off members returning.
Friday — The next steps are ours to take!