— By Pat Thomas, La Jolla High School AR
At the Dec. 11, 2013 Rep. Council, I put forth a motion to have the leadership of SDEA push SDUSD harder to fund the salary restorations which we still have not received. These are the 2% raise we were to have received on January 1, 2013 (almost a year ago), and the 3% raise we were to have received on July 1, 2013 (almost 6 months ago). I thought this would be a somewhat non-controversial motion. Isn’t that what unions do — push the employer harder to give the employees a bigger share of the pie?
Well, I was wrong. In an effort to see my motion defeated, SDEA President Bill Freeman actually turned the meeting over to SDEA Vice President Lindsay Burningham so he could speak against my motion from the Rep. Council floor. He said he believes that the people at the District are good people who are honest with us and if they say they don’t have the money to pay us, then they don’t have it. After he spoke, the Rep. Council voted against my motion (roughly 60% voting against). I was floored, and so were a lot of other people there.
The 2012 Agreement says that these two salary restorations will happen on July 1, 2014 at the latest. We all know that. It also says that our salary restoration may happen as early as January 1, 2013. It is to happen “immediately upon receipt of new BRL/ADA money” from Sacramento.
No kidding. That’s really what it says. I’m not making that up.
Anyone with half a brain is going to know that the District will never say anything other than, “We don’t have the money to make this happen any earlier than July 1, 2014.”
And anyone with half a brain is going to realize that SDEA should be politely but consistently and vigorously pushing the District for our salary restoration to happen sooner than that. How about January 1, 2014? How about February 1, 2014? How about March 1, 2014? You get the picture.
I have not seen our SDEA leadership doing this.
What I have seen is that our SDEA leadership believes the District’s opinion that the District does not have enough cash. Remember the District is never going to say anything other than, “We don’t have the money to make this happen any earlier than July 1, 2014.” Our union leadership should know better than to take the District’s word for it. Isn’t this the same District that told us for years running that they would go insolvent unless they laid off about 1,000 teachers, only to recall them almost every year since 2008 (the notable exception being 2012, when our union leadership decided to buy back layoffs with salary concessions — the same raises we’re still waiting on).
What the District does not have is the WILL to honor the 2012 Agreement and restore our salary “immediately upon receipt of new BRL/ADA money” from Sacramento.
What I have seen is that our SDEA leadership does not have the WILL to (politely but consistently and vigorously) challenge the District’s opinion. Our SDEA leadership does not have the WILL to demand that the District support its opinion about that with cash flow documents which are available to all of us, the rank-and-file of SDEA.
The purpose of my motion was to not to revisit the June 2012 Agreement. It was not “sour grapes” about that vote which saved the jobs of approximately 1,500 of us. It was not about the past.
By a 2/3 to 1/3 vote, SDEA members approved the June 2012 Agreement. It is a part of our Contract. So let’s use it!
The purpose of my motion was about the future! The purpose of my motion was for SDEA to be more pro-active in the VERY near term BY USING the 2012 Agreement. (We all know there are only six months remaining between now and July 1, 2014.)
Who among us would not want to receive the raises we negotiated in ’09-’10 sooner rather than later? I know I would!
The purpose of my motion was to have SDEA’s “4 person team” who is working on implementing the 2012 Agreement work just a little harder in the next six months.
I would like to see a schedule of their meeting dates with the team from the District. If it is only once every three months, I feel that is not often enough.
I would like to see the documentation which OUR UNION’S team receives from the District which convinces them (our team) that the District’s point of view about the inability to restore our salaries any earlier than July 1, 2014, is correct.
It must be quite convincing. It sure has convinced our SDEA leadership. I would like to see the evidence, too. I may come to a different conclusion. I may not be quite so convinced.
I would like our team to share with us, the rank-and-file, evidence which the District gives to them.
As only six months remain between now and July 1, 2014, the time has passed for budgets to be the evidence. At this point, we need to be looking at cash flow statements. The District prepares cash flow statements weekly and monthly. Why don’t we, SDEA, ask to see the monthly data?
The purpose of my motion was to change the discussion from “budgets” to “cash flow statements.”
If the District is deciding to divert many millions of dollars into building a “Reserve Fund,” why do we not politely but consistently and vigorously say, that money should be put to honoring the 2012 Agreement by restoring our final 2% and 3% pay increases and cancelling furlough days?