No, SDEA’s 17% Pay Cut Is NOT A Done Deal. JUST SAY NO!

Today was a sad day for our union.

This morning, current SDEA President Bill Freeman’s Concessions Bargaining Team, led by former SDEA President Terry Pesta and Vice President-elect Lindsay Burningham, reached a deal with the District that cuts our pay by 17% unless a November ballot initiative passes, in exchange for 1,090 recalled layoffs.

What does this agreement do? Here are the top five things you need to know right now (with more to come):

  1. Bill Freeman and his pro-concessions SDEA Board majority have turned a 7% raise into a potential 17% pay cut. This deal continues our five furlough days (-2.7%), defers our pay restorations indefinitely (-7.16%), and adds another fourteen furlough days (-7.56%) if and when a tax increase doesn’t pass in November. This is a total 17.42% pay cut from our current bargained pay.
  2. The 17% pay cut doesn’t even get all of the layoffs back. 41 ECE teachers are hung out to dry. Only 1,090 members come back now, and the rest come back based on attrition. SDEA is attempting to take credit for “saving” the 500 recalls which SDUSD Chief Financial Officer Ron Little admitted they never needed in the first place, as well as hundreds of attrition-based recalls which would happen anyway. That means we could take a 17% pay cut to save a few hundred jobs. It also means we could pressure the District to recall every single job without concessions, just as the Breakfast Club has argued for months.
  3. There is NOT a “no layoff” clause for next year or for 2013-2014 (the year our contract is extended through). There is absolutely nothing that stops the District from doing this to us all over again next year or the year after that — and Bill Freeman has just demonstrated that if they apply enough pressure, he’ll give up even more. In fact, a large part of the TA deals with exactly how (not whether) future layoffs will be handled.
  4. We now have proof positive that the District could have afforded the healthcare extension all along. That was the sole reason we were rushed to the bargaining table in the first place. The fact that SDEA Impacts and Effects Bargaining about extending our healthcare through the summer stopped unexplainably in May shows that this was part of the plan to get us to agree to concessions all along.
  5. This deal doesn’t “secure our contract.” Our contract was supposed to be secured this year, and look what has happened. Bill Freeman and Lindsay Burningham have just demonstrated that there’s no such thing as a closed contract as long as they’re in office.

Is there anything we can do? YES.

This is not a done deal, and there are more people than you might think who feel the same way that you do — but we have to get out the vote.

The Breakfast Club is launching our “Just Say No” campaign to prevent Freeman and Burningham’s horrible deal from being ratified. Email us at to find out how you can join our “Just Say No” campaign to maintain our current closed contract in the coming week, fight to get layoffs recalled the right way, and join in SDEA members’ coming efforts to put the decision-making power of our union back in the hands of the union’s membership.

The SDEA spin machine is predictably whirring into overtime, so we need to make sure we’re reaching out to our fellow educators ASAP. Earlier tonight SDEA posted  a “summary of TA” document on their Facebook that paints this concessions deal as some sort of victory. The “summary” is more of a “rewriting”, leaving out far more elements of the agreement than it includes, and giving a slanted representation of the rest. Here’s just one example: The “summary” states that our raises are deferred but not canceled. But then the very next item states that only the first of our three promised raises are actually included in the legally enforceable term of our agreement, and even then ONLY IF ridiculous contingency terms are met. The other two raises are left out of the legally enforceable term entirely, meaning that the District’s promise to reinstate them if funding comes available does not constitute a legally binding agreement, but just that — a promise. When has our District ever honored a promise that it didn’t have to? (Note: The Public Employee Relations Board adjudicates only legally binding contracts, not promises.) 

Here’s another example: The SDEA Board’s email to all members this evening states that they made the “difficult decision” to approve concessions negotiations on June 7. They actually voted to first approve such negotiatons on June 5. That may seem like a small detail, but it is important because their June 5 vote was tied to approval of the majority of members through a phone survey which they tossed out, and occurred before the June 6 Rep. Council, where they made no mention of having taken such a vote the night before. The current SDEA Board continues to make every effort to make its decisions in secrecy. This is not how our union used to operate, and it is  not okay.

What does this mean for all of us? Just like we tell our students, don’t read the Cliff Notes. Read the full tentative agreement for yourself, and discuss how it will impact yourself and your colleagues before you vote.

What else happened today? A lot:

  1. The SDEA Board held a “closed” meeting today to vote to approve the deal. The SDEA Board posted on the front door of our union office that members weren’t allowed into the meeting and that the entire meeting would be closed. But then they ended up conducting half of their meeting in open session with no one present to observe! Not a single SDEA member’s voice was heard tonight before the SDEA leadership voted to approve a potential 17% pay cut for all 7,000 of us.
  2. The Breakfast Club held our second meeting. Our momentum continues to grow  — and just in time for the work we have ahead of us.
  3. SDEA members of the Breakfast Club are continuing to hold our School Board accountable because that’s what union members are supposed to do when our employer is attempting to take us to the cleaners. We attended a Richard Barrera-sponsored pro-healthcare event and passed out information leaflets to attendees about Barrera’s anti-worker and anti-healthcare stance as a School Board member. Download this flyer and share it with your friends and neighbors. Let’s not let Richard Barrera, a California Nurses Association union organizer, off the hook for what he’s doing to nurses, counselors, and teachers in our own union.

In the next few days we will provide a detailed analysis of the concessions agreement, as well as our action plan. In the meantime, keep spreading the word. Now is the time to fight, not to give up. Too much is at stake to stay home this week. This isn’t just about a 17% pay cut (although it certainly is about that as well), but it’s about the future of our union in the years ahead.

—The Breakfast Club Action Group

One thought on “No, SDEA’s 17% Pay Cut Is NOT A Done Deal. JUST SAY NO!

  1. Pingback: The Starting Line – San Diego Teacher’s Union Dissidents Mount ‘Just Say No’ Campaign on Concessions

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