—by Emily Neidhart, Garfield AR
First of all, thank you to all the Breakfast Clubbers who attended Rep. Council on last Wednesday, Jan. 16! This was an exciting and victorious meeting for all SDEA members, and our participation went a long way towards protecting democracy in our union’s governance documents. Together we defeated SDEA’s proposed changes to limit the SDEA Secretary’s ability to share information with our members, truly underscoring why our continued work as a democratic union reform caucus is so important. Congratulations to all of us!
Here are some highlights from the meeting (read below for more details):
- SDEA’s proposed permanent Bylaws changes targeting the SDEA Secretary’s ability to share information with members was defeated!
- SDEA says a raise (including one retroactive) are coming, but no one knows when until the state budget is passed (next summer or later). That means the “January 1” raise is not happening any time soon.
- SDEA is launching a “no layoffs” organizing plan. Let’s all plan to attend a School Board accountability session this Wednesday or next Friday (see details below).
- The SDEA recall procedure will be clarified so it will run more smoothly in the future, if needed.
BIG WIN on Bylaws Changes: Hands Off OUR Minutes!
Over the past few months it has been clear that SDEA leadership has been attempting to silence newly elected SDEA Secretary Michelle Sanchez by nitpicking every single line of her minutes, ad nauseum, at each meeting—with the result being to decrease the amount of information that is available to SDEA members in our Board and Rep. Council meeting minutes—and by proposing changes to our union’s Bylaws that would reduce the amount of information she could record in our meeting minutes. This behavior, which wastes so much time of the members, was clearly because some members of the SDEA Board disagree with Sanchez’s participation in our union reform caucus.
We have written several times about this behavior, and publicized the vote that was to take place at last week’s Rep. Council targeting the Secretary’s role. Many of you listened, and you stood up for your fellow union member on Wednesday, hopefully putting an end to the ridiculous attacks on our Secretary and our union’s governance documents.
So here is what happened at Wednesday’s Rep. Council during the Bylaws motion.
- There was a motion to approve changes to our Bylaws that included:
- Minor changes to language/grammar, and
- Three changes to the Secretary’s duties, while NO other officer’s duties were being edited:
- 9.1- The Secretary could record only the actions taken during meetings, not the discussions preceding them;
- 9.2- Change the Secretary’s ability to distribute meeting minutes, agendas and notices from “when appropriate” to “when approved by the Board of Directors;” and
- 9.3- Requiring that the Secretary work with SDEA staff on the membership lists (rather than independently).
All of these changes were originally grouped altogether, but thankfully Roosevelt AR Bobbe Abts made a request to pull items 9.1 and 9.2 so that the membership could vote on those changes individually.
During the discussion, many ARs (and Breakfast Clubbers) stood up, spoke their minds, and encouraged our fellow ARs and CRs to vote NO on these revisions.
Point Loma AR Randy Wheeler first spoke, and he was prepared! He had notes from research he had conducted about successful businesses and how they record their meeting minutes. His examples included sample meeting minutes notes in which discussion was summarized — a perfectly legitimate practice in order to document and represent those who spoke on different issues. This is how Sanchez has been doing things, and if you request meeting minutes that VP Lindsey Burningham took when she was Secretary (you’ll have to request them because they aren’t available online) you’ll notice that she did the same.
Special thanks to Birney AR David Peterson who got up next, faced the Rep. Council, and clearly stated why he was going to vote no. Some of his reasons included the fact that this was so obviously an attack on Sanchez for voicing her beliefs. He also made it clear that permanently changing our union’s governance documents in order to silence a political opponent is not transparent or democratic.
Others who spoke against these changes included Clairemont CR Dan Knight, Abts, and many others.
Both suggested changes to 9.1 and 9.2 FAILED due to Breakfast Clubbers literally standing up for not only Sanchez, but for the future of our union. SDEA is OUR UNION and belongs to every member. It is not something owned by Board members and officers. Hopefully we can move on now to real union work, with all voices having the ability to be heard and respected.
Thank you again to everyone who showed up, spoke his or her voice, and demanded that our union remain a fair and democratic group. What happened on Wednesday proves that things happen when we SHOW UP, SPEAK UP, and FIGHT for OUR RIGHTS.
Budget Update: SDEA Says Raises Are Coming (But Not for a While)
SDEA Executive Director Tim Hill reviewed the state budget situation as it relates to our new contract. The highlights are:
- Educators on step 17 will receive a 1% pay increase on July 1, 2013, no matter what else happens.
- SDEA made it clear that the first 2% pay restoration will be RETROACTIVE to January 1, 2013, and will occur once the monies are available (most likely during the 2013-2014 school year).
- Furlough days will be restored as the monies are available. The remaining 2% and 3% restorations will occur as the money comes in as well. Any restorations that have not taken place by July 2014, will automatically take effect on July 1, 2014.
After a few pointed questions from our membership, there were some additional clarifications made:
- The second 2% and 3% pay restorations are NOT retroactive to the dates when they were originally supposed to take effect.
- The restoration that is set to occur July 1, 2014 only goes into effect if no new contract has been bargained. That means if we’re not vigilant, and if we don’t elect a stronger SDEA Board this coming March, we could watch as SDEA once again bargains away our raises before they happen. So make sure you pay attention, and that you VOTE in March.
Layoffs: SDEA Rolls Out a “No Layoffs” Organizing Plan
SDEA has created a plan to put pressure on the District to ensure no layoffs. Here are the highlights:
- Accountability sessions are occurring now. Please attend to put pressure on SDUSD board members:
- Richard Barrera, Jan. 23 at Hoover High, 3:30 p.m.
- Kevin Beiser, Feb. 1 at Henry High School, 3:30 p.m.
- All members need to send a postcard to their School Board member to remind them of why layoffs are unnecessary. See your AR, who should have your school’s postcards and the name of your Board member.
- As we get closer to Pink Slip Season, we will continue to apply pressure to the Board members with community and parental involvement.
- The Breakfast Club can make the difference on whether these School Board accountability sessions succeed or fail. We’ve comprised a LARGE part of the attendance at the three meetings that have taken place so far. Let’s continue to BE the union we want to see.
Recall: Motion to Have Recall Procedures Clarified Passes
SDEA Board member Erin Kole made a motion for the Election Committee to research and then revise the recall procedures in our governance documents. The fact that Kole — who regularly leads the attacks on Sanchez’s minutes — presented this motion led many Breakfast Clubbers to immediately question the motivation behind the motion. This kind of participation is good, and lets leadership know that we are awake and watching.
This motion is most likely a good idea. Election Committee Co-Chairs Kandi Nieto and Karen Ellsworth explained how prior to this fall, there had never been a recall before. When they went to CTA for assistance on specific issues, they didn’t have the answers either, because they had never had a recall actually occur either. Going through and clarifying the procedures will help the election chairs and the folks requesting the recall conduct a much smoother recall process, if there ever is one in the future.
We supported this motion, and it passed — with the important addition that the changes be taken back to Rep. Council for review.
We would also like to thank Nieto and Ellsworth for their diligence and the long hours they have put in as Elections Committee Co-Chairs.
A lot happened at this Rep. Council, and it is clear that Breakfast Clubbers are showing up and making a difference. We have a lot of work to do this spring to help our union ensure that there are no layoffs and that our contract is honored. If you showed up, THANK YOU and see you at the next Rep. Council FEBRUARY 20, 2013. If you are an AR or CR and you did not make it this time, we hope you join us next month as well!