Bargaining Has Begun, but This Time “It’s Confidential”
After a series of closed-door decisions last week, it is now official that the SDEA Board has opened negotiations on parts of our closed contract without obtaining membership approval as promised all year. The SDEA Board appointed a bargaining team Sunday night. Negotiations began with the District later that very night, with the stated parameters of bargaining away our contractual pay. Even SDEA Board members weren’t informed of a secret meeting between the union and the District to set “ground rules” for negotiations that took place after the emergency SDEA Board meeting this past Friday night (see last night’s SDEA bargaining update email from SDEA).
One SDEA member who was able to get through to Vice President-elect (and concessions bargaining team member) Lindsay Burningham was told that the union and District bargaining teams have agreed to place a gag order on negotiations, with both parties agreeing to keep the content of their meetings confidential until bargaining has concluded.
This means SDEA members will get NO information about the contents of the bargaining process, and will have no ability to influence the process, until a deal has already been reached! SDEA has never negotiated this way in recent history. Even as recently as May 31, substantive bargaining updates about Layoff Impacts and Effects bargaining were going live within a few days of negotiations. Even if SDEA President Bill Freeman and the SDEA Board keep their word about members ratifying any agreements reached through negotiations, members will have had no voice whatsoever in establishing bargaining priorities or organizing to ensure a positive outcome. And there is still no word what form a ratification vote will take.
How it should have gone…
Is there a better way of doing things? YES. For argument’s sake, let’s say we did find ourselves in a place where SDEA needed to negotiate mid-term during the final year of our contract. (Remember, if this were to occur, it should NOT happen before the Governor’s final budget is approved, the ballot measure to increase school funding is voted on by the electorate of California, and we actually know what SDUSD funding looks like.)
What would SDEA negotiations look like if Bill Freeman and CTA manager (and SDEA interim Executive Director) Tom Madden actually knew what they were doing when opening the contract? Click HERE to read more.
Don’t Drop Your SDEA Membership!
Being upset, given the events of the last few months, is certainly understandable. But we strongly encourage members to voice their concerns through engaging in our democracy, not by dropping out of it. To be clear, if you drop your membership you will not get to vote in the upcoming bargaining ratification vote OR in any future elections for the SDEA Board or officers. In fact, now is a good time to talk with non-members at your site about signing up for membership in SDEA so that they too can have a voice through their votes.
First Breakfast Club Gathering: A Strong Beginning
On Monday, SDEA members from nearly one fourth of our schools attended the first-ever Breakfast Club Action Group gathering at the home of one of our teachers. There was good discussion and consensus around short-term and long-term organizing plans to stop the layoffs AND concessions, while pushing for a stronger and more democratic SDEA. Look for more information about upcoming actions and next steps, starting with the list below!
- Download and complete the Summer Info Form and return it so we can keep in touch this summer as SDEA leadership brings its concessions agreement to the membership for ratification.
- Attend the SDEA Board meeting this Wednesday, June 13 at 4:30. Members will be “strictly limited” to one-minute comments during the member issues portion of the beginning of the agenda, but it’s worth it to speak directly to your elected leaders.
- Pack the SDUSD Board meeting next Tuesday, June 19 at 4:30 at the Ed. Center. Our School Board Trustees have experienced remarkably scant pressure after their decision to lay off one out of five educators, despite sitting on top of an extra $71.4 million verified through the recent SDEA “budget scrub” that could be put towards layoff recalls or extension of healthcare benefits for laid off educators, without one single concession. Let’s not let them off the hook!