100 Reasons to Just Say No!

Freeman and His Concessions Board turn 7% Raise into 17% Pay Cut

  1. With the School Board’s Friday night announcement that their 2013-14 deficit has suddenly jumped up to $80 million WITH these concessions, and WITH a November tax initiative passing, it’s more obvious than ever: Approving this TA sets us up for same exact thing every year for the rest of our careers.
  2. We have shown the District exactly how to get us to fork over everything we have left: lay people off, play hardball, then get concessions.
  3. What do we get in exchange for all these concessions? Nothing except more empty promises.
  4. Our health benefits are NOT secure if we pass this (see #1). We haven’t secured anything. All we did was ensure that we have nothing else left to give but healthcare – and give we will, unless something changes drastically with our union.
  5. SDEA tells us that salary increases that were supposed to go into effect this year can be rolled over into a successor agreement after this new one expires. This has NO legal standing and is just another empty promise to try to get us to ratify.
  6. We DESERVE the raise we fairly negotiated in exchange for the real concessions we already gave (health care and furloughs) in 2010.
  7. Were you asked if you wanted wage concessions?
  8. This contract will virtually guarantee that we remain last in the County in salary comparability.
  9. We were never asked if we wanted or would consider extending the contract with the possibility of up to 19 furlough days.
  10. Conceding makes us weaker, not stronger.
  11. Concessions like this de-value our profession in the eyes of the public.
  12. SDEA President Bill Freeman and the Bargaining Team say we have to have this agreement to save us in “what is projected to be SDUSD’s worst budget year.” The state and District only pass annual budgets – we should not do something as drastic as this without REAL information about what those budget years will be like.
  13. Freeman told us all winter and spring that he would wait until the state budget was passed before even considering concessions. Then he rushed to get this done before the final state budget is even debated.
  14. SDEA didn’t send out sample salary schedules to show the damage that will be done to our salaries.
  15. The retirement incentive requires 25 years of service “in the bargaining unit” rather than just CalSTRS service. This eliminates many potential retirees from the benefit.
  16. The supporting material from SDEA explaining the TA raises more questions than it answers.
  17. Any agreement with this many concessions should include a restriction on future layoffs. NOTHING stops them from coming back at us next year for benefit concessions during the term of the “extension.”
  18. SDEA leadership and staff have been spending all their time in recent months trying to convince us that things are going just great rather than organize us and MAKE things great (as we have done in the past).
  19. Freeman’s contract agreement can potentially set us back over a decade in our hard-earned wages.
  20. Retirees in the next few years will suffer permanent loses of retirement benefits that could total in some cases over $200,000 (this was at least one member’s actual calculation).
  21. There have been virtually no discussions by SDUSD of administrative cuts since they knew they were going to get concessions from Freeman and SDEA leadership.
  22. The bargaining team could have and should have first demanded that specific cuts be made to SDUSD administration before we start talking concessions.
  23. The rush to ratify during the summer disenfranchises hundreds, if not thousands, of SDEA members.
  24. There is no accommodation for voting for members out of town.
  25. Freeman, Vice President Elect Lindsey Burningham and former SDEA President (and current SDEA Bargaining Chair) Terry Pesta had time to do multiple joint press conferences with the District and SDUSD Board President John Lee Evans after the TA but don’t have the time to hold membership meetings to educate us about the TA before we vote.
  26. Our union was strong and successful when we organized and we fought like a union.
  27. This new era of union-District “collaboration” by Freeman and Burningham has already shown how damaging that approach can be.
  28. The “ground rules” agreed to by SDEA and SDUSD on June 8 look almost exactly like the final TA. It is reasonable to believe then that this agreement had been made before bargaining even began. (The ground rules are attached to the TA that is posted on the Breakfast Club Action Group website.)
  29. In the past, we always knew what was going on at the bargaining table. This time Freeman and his Board decided to agree to confidential bargaining with the District. Secret bargaining always benefits the employer, not the employees.
  30. Public education is not made better when teachers and education workers can’t make ends meet at home.
  31. SDEA no longer communicates with members as it had in the past.
  32. SDEA no longer sends updates with real content about negotiations and organizing.
  33. Freeman promised repeatedly that we would get input on any bargaining before it happened – then made a decision to disregard the membership survey and just do what he and the SDEA Board wanted.
  34. All we have left to give now is healthcare.
  35. Early Childhood Education teachers were completely sold out (many will not be returned from layoff).
  36. Two years ago we took health care and furlough concessions and didn’t get any credit in the press or public. What makes us think this will be any different?
  37. SDEA members who remain laid off from last year were completely forgotten about. In fact, their return rights expire when the TA expires—so they may never come back!
  38. SDEA member career earnings will be decimated – these salary losses will take years to recoup.
  39. We’ve always won in past because we never demonstrated weakness. Freeman, Burningham and the current leadership has totally changed this.
  40. Freeman and Evans have been saying the same thing for months – and are still saying the same thing about this settlement. Our union leaders in the past always followed the members’ lead, not the District’s lead.
  41. If you have been laid off this year, get ready for it every year from now on. This TA sets a precedent that we will give huge concessions – all the District has to do is issue layoff notices. We will be in the same boat less than a year from now.
  42. All of these concessions are to save only a few hundred jobs — the District can and will recall the rest anyway. CFO Ron Little testified that 500 more layoffs were issued than were fiscally necessary, and another 500 attrition will be recalled through attrition. The rest are necessary only if there are mid-year cuts. In 2008 the District recalled hundreds of teachers into temporary contracts and then converted them to regular contracts in January. There is absolutely no reason they couldn’t do that again this year.
  43. The Breakfast Club Action Group proposed exactly that plan to both the union and the District. Neither even pretended to take it seriously.
  44. Contracts are about enforceable guarantees. The only thing guaranteed in this agreement is that SDEA members lose.
  45. SDEA is rushing us to ratify this agreement without giving members enough time to talk and analyze its impact.
  46. Our membership is still strong – strong enough to withstand voting this down and keeping both our jobs and pay.
  47. We’re the same membership who bargained the 7% raise that Freeman is rushing to give away. All that’s changed is the leadership.
  48. The TA’s proposed Health Care Trust Fund for laid-off members presupposes layoffs in future.
  49. OUR money funds the Health Care Trust Fund! The money in the fund comes from money due us from our previous contract due to unilateral changes in our healthcare by VEBA (which should have resulted in $400 per member).
  50. These wage concessions are bigger than what ANY OTHER District taking right now – and we were supposed to be the ones with a closed contract.
  51. Our previous bargaining team and membership negotiated so well that we had more to give… and Freeman gave it.
  52. Everyone else is taking furloughs only – we’re the only union taking a straight pay cut. Why isn’t that 7% being given in the form of furlough days too?
  53. We should have started by giving furloughs and only given a straight pay cut if there were mid-year cuts, not vice versa.
  54. The minimum cut to our bargained pay is 10% — giving up a 7.16% raise, and extending the 2.7% cut of the furlough day.
  55. There could be an additional 7.6% pay cut in the middle of the year if the ballot measure fails.
  56. Can your family afford an additional 7.6% cut in the middle of the year (5% even with step increases)?
  57. If you make $40,000 per year that means that you will earn from $4,000 to $6,000 less next year. If you make $60,000 then the cut is $6,000 to $9,000 less.
  58. The District has been withholding the extension of healthcare for laid off members hostage to rush us to settlement. We now have PROOF they can afford to extend benefits, always could, and still can if we vote this down.
  59. Our union is also rushing us to settlement. There is no reason not to push for extension of benefits and wait till the inevitable fall wave of recalls like we always have (and still can if we vote NO).
  60. The highly unlikely 1% pay increase for members at the top of the schedule is a pittance, and comes nowhere near offsetting their lifetime earning loss to their retirements. Why not let those members get the full 7.16% pay increase?
  61. People at the beginning of the schedule will hardly be making a livable wage if the ballot measure fails.
  62. Some have argued that members moving through the schedule won’t feel a hit because of step increases. These members will still feel a 5% pay cut from their current pay if the ballot measure fails and worst-case mid-year cuts occur.
  63. The ballot measure’s support has plummeted from 64% approval in March to 52% in a June poll.
  64. Freeman and Burningham claim this agreement secures our contract in 2013-14. Bill Freeman just proved there’s no such thing as a secure contract as long as he’s president.
  65. Saying that this “secures our benefits” through 2013-14 is admitting that we will be defeated at the bargaining table at the end of next year if we did not open this contract.
  66. We will only be defeated in future rounds of bargaining if we conduct ourselves like we did this month.
  67. Extending healthcare through the summer for laid off members is something we’ve always had. It did not need to be bargained and only was due to Freeman and the SDEA Board’s willingness to concede.
  68. Laid off classified members are having their benefits extended through September 30 because it is in their contract. If the District can afford it for the 1,000 laid off classified members, they can afford it for us.
  69. Deferring the salary increases is just another in a series of lame promises from the District. They didn’t keep their promise this time and now we have demonstrated that we won’t hold them to it.
  70. SDEA did not bother to look at new revenue sources in the Governor’s budget such as the lifting of restrictions on categorical monies that now can be used for salaries.
  71. The Governor’s budget speaks to a new funding formula that can potentially bring millions of dollars in new revenue to urban school districts such as SDUSD but SDEA hasn’t talked about this for months.
  72. The possible two PD days prove this was never just about the District’s “fiscal need.” If they have the money to pay people for two days of PD… they have the money to pay people for those two days period. This is Bersin-era tactics. Bill Freeman is taking us backwards, not forwards.
  73. ECE members were hung out to dry – other groups such as nurses, psychologists, counselors, or others may be next.
  74. There are four years of furloughs, but only two years of early retirement incentive for a very limited number of people.
  75. If you retire in 13-14 after four years of furloughs, you get NOTHING to offset your four years of “floating the district a loan.”
  76. A $25,000 retirement incentive amounts to very little — after taxes roughly $18,000.
  77. For first time in anyone’s memory we negotiated a 7.16% increase. When are we ever going to be able to negotiate it again? And how can we possibly hope to enforce it now that Freeman has shown the District exactly how to take it right back?
  78. When were we informed of what was and wasn’t on the table?
  79. Why did the SDEA Board disregard their promise to poll 70% of SDEA members before deciding whether or not to bargain concessions?
  80. We shouldn’t be learning about bargaining items for the first time after they’ve already been signed off on!
  81. This is never how bargaining has worked in our union before.
  82. Why did we completely stop organizing as a union when it has been so successful in the past?
  83. Before CTA got to our bargaining table in the form of CTA Manager/Interim SDEA Executive Director Tom Madden, we had transparency, strength, and competence at the table.
  84. For the first time in 5 years CTA has been advising us in bargaining. What has been the result?
  85. At the very least we should have considered Kevin Besier’s concessions. Kevin Besier’s District took 14 furloughs (pending ballot initiative) to save ALL of the layoffs. We are taking 14 furlough days (pending ballot initiative), plus a 7% pay cut to save MOST of the layoffs – and we make less than teachers in his District to begin with.
  86. SDEA has stopped organizing to build pressure and now believes we should leave everything up to leadership and their “relationships” with the District.
  87. While it may sound flippant, if we’re stuck with CTA, can we at least get the CTA staff that bargain slightly less awful concessions to work with us?
  88. There is the same exact sentence TWO TIMES in the TA email from SDEA: “The agreement highlights the importance of passing the Governor’s November initiative and the real challenges our schools and public education in California will face should it fail.” This TA is about bribing educators into campaigning for this ballot initiative.
  89. For years CTA had no role in SDEA bargaining and we won every time. This time CTA manager Tom Madden is at the table along with support from CTA staffers and look what happens. And now the SDEA Board has decided to permanently hire another CTA Manager as SDEA Executive Director. You’ve got to be kidding.
  90. The new era of “collaboration” that Freeman and Burningham ushered in also came with a crackdown on union democracy. “Open lines of communication” with SDUSD but not with SDEA members?
  91. It appears that Freeman and his bargaining team didn’t bother to look at the polling on the Governor’s initiative that has lost more than 10 percentage points in just a few months.
  92. When does balancing the District budget on our backs end? Obviously not in the next few years.
  93. Why would voters approve the Governor’s ballot initiative when we Freeman has made clear that SDEA educators will just suck up the difference?
  94. Anyone hear a plan yet from SDEA on getting the ballot measure passed?
  95. In the TA there is only a “promise” to meet by the District and SDEA if the Munger Tax Initiative (the competing initiative on the ballot), rather than a contractual guarantee to meet and bargain the impacts of this possible new revenue source.
  96. We have no contractual guarantees any more.
  97. Evans and the District are literally ecstatic with the TA and say it is everything they wanted. What is wrong with this picture?
  98. We should not be ashamed of telling people that we deserve a raise.
  99. There were no improvements to working conditions in exchange for these draconian concessions.


One thought on “100 Reasons to Just Say No!

  1. I totally agree with this article. I also feel I have been ripped off by SDEA. In 25 years of teaching I never trusted this district and I thought the union was on MY side as a classroom teacher.
    We have to get the NO vote out there and regain our voices as paying members of SDEA.

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