NO CHANGE IN HEALTH BENEFITS
Your LTA Bargaining Team – led by Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and made up of Justin Catalán (Moffett), Gary Moore (LMS), Jim Nadler (LMS) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff) – met with the district bargaining team today. The district team consists of Dr. Hiacynth Martinez (Chief Personnel Officer), Kevin Franklin (Chief Financial Officer), Polo Marquez (Felton VP) and Steve Andelson (attorney).
Based on conversations with members and the results of the most recent bargaining survey, one of LTA’s main objectives today was to reach an understanding with the district aboutpermanentlylowering the cost of health benefits. Because the open enrollment window closed Friday, we knew we had a very limited window of opportunity to come to an agreement lowering the cost of benefits and giving members an opportunity to make changes to their plan choices. We offered to accept the district’s estimate of the cost of LTA’s benefits proposal as equal to a 1% increase in salary, and to reduce our salary proposal from 5% to 4%. The district rejected this offer, instead proposing to instate LTA’s benefits proposalfor one year only,and to increase salary by a mere 0.5% for one year,off the salary schedule. The district resisted all efforts to decouple the discussion of health benefits and salary, and insisted that any agreement today include both benefits and final salary increase amounts. Despite close analysis of the district’s cost estimates demonstrating that more money is available, the district held firm to its proposal of one year of health benefits, a one-time 0.5% “bonus,” and no permanent salary increase. As much as your LTA Bargaining Team wanted to reach an agreement on benefits today, a one-year respite in health benefit costs coupled with a meager – and temporary – increase to salary is both unacceptable and insulting. We simply could not agree to that. So, sorry folks, it looks like there will be no improvement in health benefits this year.
In regard to other proposals, the districtrejected:
- stipends for combo classes and middle school teachers with 3 or more preps,
- increasing the work year by 7 pupil-free days, stating that there are no plans for professional development beyond June 2017 when the current PD MOU expires,
- continuing elementary PE/planning and the LMS planning period beyond the expiration of the current planning time MOU in June 2017,
- creating permanent super minimum days for scoring,
- maintaining lower class sizes once the current class-size MOU expires in June 2017, and
- lowering special ed case loads.
The district alsomaintainedtheir proposals to:
- allow principals to extend Wednesday meetings until 4 pm to address unspecified “unforeseen circumstances requiring immediate attention,”
- limit the scope of teacher participation in school decision-making via School Leadership Teams, and finally,
- delay reopening the entire contract for renegotiation until 2019, two years later than the contract currently stipulates.
Clearly this has been a disappointing day, particularly with regard to the district’s shortsightedness on important issues like health benefits, professional development, planning time and class sizes. It is also clear we will need to step up our efforts to educate the district, school board and community on the importance of these issues and the ways that they benefit not only teachers, but students as well. The district’s compulsive focus on the cost of these programs, rather than their benefit to students and teachers, has convinced us that some of these issues will be better dealt with during the next bargaining cycle. We, therefore, made the difficult but strategic decision to postpone further discussion about elementary PE/planning, the LMS planning period, and lower class sizes until early 2017.
Our final proposal of the day:
- offered to drop demands for an increase in health benefits in exchange for a full 5% permanent salary increase (if we can’t save people money on benefits, we can at least make up some of the difference in salary),
- maintained demands for stipends for combo classes and middle school teachers with 3 or more preps, and a $40/hour teacher hourly rate,
- proposed increasing the the work year by 5 pupil-free days (which would result in a 2.7% working raise),
- rejected the district’s vague proposal for meetings until 4 pm,
- maintained proposals lowering special ed case loads.
Be on the lookout for communications from the Organizing Team in the next few weeks on how you can help support our continuing bargaining efforts.
The two teams are scheduled to meet again September 20 and October 13.