Sunday, September 20, 2015

SEA Contract Ratification Meeting Underway

As of about 7:40 pm, teachers contract approved by SEA membership.  Waiting for details on vote.

SAEOPS 96% paraeducators 87% Certs 83% 
Teachers are being asked NOT to tell results and to allow SEA to do that.  SEA tweets have been slow so I don't know if the news will come via another news outlet or SEA.

I asked: voice or ballot? The answer is ballot.

As of about 15 minutes ago,
SEA contract vote is underway.

From a reader, interesting tweets from @organizefish:

Q: "Is it possible for SAEOPs and Paraeducators to approve their TA and Certificated staff to not pass theirs?" A: "Yes." 

Paras: "I'm at the top of the pay scale. I have worked for  for 35 years. I make $37K. I qualify for food stamps." 

The agenda has been moved.  SAEOPs have entered debate on the TA.   (this an hour ago)

@OrganizeFISH: John Donaghy: "We are going to dog the district until we [fix] the Special Education ratios!" #SPSstrike

end of update

4:15 pm - Still nothing new from the ratification meeting.

3:45 pm Nothing new from SEA. 

3:05 pm  SEA reports the meeting is starting.  There are no tweets from SPS on this issue at all.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seattle parent 2008
Does anyone have a link for the TA under discussion?

GarfieldMom said...

@OrganizeFISH is tweeting a few tidbits from the meeting

Belle1 said...

Contract Approved

Belle1 said...

Contract Approved

Tresanos said...

Approved by pretty sizeable margins. Certificated teachers voted 83% in favor. If I remember right SAEOPS 96% and parapros 87% (correct me if wrong, someone). Many deep thanks articulated to bargaining team for their250 plus hours negotiating. The work to do is in Olympia. LOTS of thanks expressed for parent support!

I was there said...

About 1300 teachers voted out of 5000. That is an indictment of the SEA leadership's failure to engage the interest of members in this abysmal contract. One teacher said it best tonight: "If you are a new teacher with three years or less, the raise offered by the District won't even pay your SEA membership dues." Nor will it pay for the deficit in your health insurance policy at Group Health, currently running at about $6000 per year out of pocket for a teacher and spouse.

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

Right again President Abraham Lincoln

Anonymous said...

Well, let's think about this . . .

The way percentages work, a percentage raise on a smaller salary (newer teachers) will be smaller no matter how you slice it.

If the district had given up bigger raises, there would be a high risk of layoffs next year (still could happen), and that would be an even bigger bummer for newer teachers.

And, by the way, how much are those SEA membership dues (and how big is that SEA staff)?

There too

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I wonder when we will all realize what we just "won".

Cassandra

Anonymous said...

Cassandra

How is this contract a "win" for students with disabilities who could succeed in general education, if the supports were available to allow them to succeed as is their legal right? This is as opposed to occupying space in GenEd which is the upshot of the new contract for students with disabilities in General Education contexts. And if it's not a win for these students, can it be a win for anybody?

Realitycheck

Anonymous said...

Right Again,

http://www.king5.com/story/news/education/seattle-teachers-strike/2015/09/20/seattle-teachers-to-vote-on-new-deal/72517976/ says SEA reported 3000 showed up.

A certain amount of educators started leaving 60-90 minutes in once it was starting to become somewhat obvious that the contract was going to pass (2 right by me). Not huge amounts but noticeable. I thought I heard 300+ teachers voted against and thus if accurate that means about 1700+ teachers voted overall with 83% for. I hope somebody/EA publishes the exact count and will post it to allay concerns/claims that it was poorly attended (vote #s were down slightly due to how long it went).

That said, there was a clear new energy that the district leadership had better be on alert, slim down the excess staff that has been rebuilt the last couple of years, and get serious about fixing the nursing, counseling and a few other ratios that SEA leadership also got a clear mandate on from both the pro/con ratifying sides. Legislature - you're also on alert. We do not want to become Wisconsin with massive teachers shortages in an anti-education environment.

Overall a good deal for most members, but there are still some embarrassingly poor gaps for certain key support personnel in the schools. Don't need another district committee to fix that... as Nike says, Just Do It.

not failure

GarfieldMom said...

"If you are a new teacher with three years or less, the raise offered by the District won't even pay your SEA membership dues." Not quite true -- a new teacher is unlikely to pay dues of more than $4000 in a 3-year period -- but it isn't the right question. It doesn't take into account the fact that teachers are already paying those dues. The raise will more than pay for any increase in dues.

Could a teacher or two throw out figures for how much they pay monthly or annually for dues? I'm curious; I've just seen the dues schedules for 2013-14 and I'd like to know if there was an increase between then and last school year.

GarfieldMom said...

There too said...
The way percentages work, a percentage raise on a smaller salary (newer teachers) will be smaller no matter how you slice it.

If the district had given up bigger raises, there would be a high risk of layoffs next year (still could happen), and that would be an even bigger bummer for newer teachers.

And, by the way, how much are those SEA membership dues (and how big is that SEA staff)?


Salaries don't go up by an across-the-board percentage. (At the district level. They do in the state allocations, but that's a can of worms for another time.)

Assume for these examples that no teacher moves over a lane, only up steps (no additional credits earned, an additional year teaching). For clarity, I'm using 1-10 for the lanes, rather than the 100-900 + lane 906 (PhD) that SPS uses.

New teachers with BAs (Step1/Lane1) will see a bigger increase percentage-wise than new teachers with BA+45+MA (Step1/Lane4), who get the smallest % increase of anyone. In fact, in lane4, a teacher has to get to their fifth year before their percent increase is bigger than a Step1/Lane1 teacher, and Step1/Lane1 is the ONLY cell in the entire schedule that has a lower % than Step1/Lane4.

A teacher with BA in their third year teaching (Step3/Lane3) gets a higher % increase than ANY teacher who has reached the top of their salary schedule (and does not move over a lane, remember).

A mid-career teacher with more education (Step9/Lane6, MA + 8 years experience) gets a smaller % increase than a Step6/Lane1 (BA only + 5 years) teacher.

The highest* raises by % go to teachers who are in the first five years of teaching in lanes 5, 8, 9, and 10 (which is called 906 on the SPS schedule). The cell with the highest % increase of all is Step1/Lane10, which is someone with a PhD in their first year of teaching, i.e., an extreme rarity.

*A notable exception: I am leaving out Lane7, which would otherwise have the cell with the highest % increase (Step1). The only employees in this lane were grandfathered in. There have been no new entries into this lane since 2005, so the fact that someone at Step1/Lane7 would get the highest % increase is moot; there is no one in that cell or entering that cell.

Anonymous said...
$86/mo for SEA dues going up to near $100.

That's currently 5.2 million dollars per year from just teachers to the SEA and what do we get...another day older and deeper in debt...SEA don't call me cause I can't go...I owe my soul to the District store.


Your math seems a bit off. OK, a lot off.

If you count only teachers, who number fewer than 3000 (I rounded up to that), at $100/month or $1200/yr., that's $3.6 million, not $5.2 million, and that covers SEA, WEA, and NEA dues (NEA portion is the smallest by far). SEA alone should be about $420 for teachers for the most recent year, using the formula in their bylaws, which means $1.2 million goes to SEA from just the teachers. Do you know what you get for your dues, from SEA, WEA, and NEA? Maybe you are getting more (or less?) than you think but you can't know without paying attention to what they do with the money.

Anonymous said...

President Lincoln, More teachers were there than you are stating. Also, many people left early as the other poster said when it was clear it was going to be approved. The reason why people don't go to those meetings is because they are so LONG! Many teachers I know went just to be sure there would be a yes vote. Who wants to sit in long meetings like that where people go on and on and on and... It's not about lack of engagement, it's practicality. I have a life. I don't need to sit and listen to one union member after another get up and tell me the same thing that the one who just sat down said. I wish they would let us vote electronically.
Yes Voter

Anonymous said...

Reality Check, using your criteria we would never have a win. If I understand you correctly, there are no wins until everyone gets what they need and deserve. I don't think that will ever happen. I think there are a lot of wins in this contract. There are also some areas, like SPED, where we all wish the numbers were better. Does that mean we don't celebrate the wins? NO!

I do want to say, after listening to the bargaining team, that what we ended up with in SPED was much better than what the district was proposing. The district wanted to get rid of Access all together in high school. The district wanted control over all IAs centrally and then through the school administration. It ended up being a decision that is made within the building with the teachers and IAs. It isn't everything we wanted, but the bargaining team did fight for sped.

I also think you should direct your anger at the district, more than the bargaining team, or teachers. The district has the money but is choosing to spend it on things like overpaid, bloated administration.
Yes Voter

Anonymous said...

Reality check, face it, there are losers and winners per yes voter. You are one of the losers and should be thankful it wasn't worse. Thank the bargaining team and go beat up the administration. Good luck. We are behind you. We have solidarity, social justice, and unity on our side. With that we will takeover Olympia. With your help of course. Don't lose sight. This is all about ALL our children. Well most of the children. We are a democracy. Well except we are really a republic designed to protect the rights of minorities and check the tyranny of the majority. It's a glass half full. There's always a next time...

lonely planet

Beckett said...

That 83% approval vote you see has more to do with teachers hating being on strike and wanting to get back to work than overwhelming endorsement of the contract. The only people I have heard praising this hard-fought failure are members of the bargaining team who are in a state of mental exhaustion.

For so much effort, discord and pain SEA members gained virtually nothing. Also, I doubt very many members read the detailed TA language. When they figure out what's really in this turd they are going to be shocked and outraged.

Anonymous said...

Garfield Mom, I think more than just teachers pay SEA dues, though, right? There were a lot of people voting on the contract. Are the dues less for non-teachers, though? I would kind of hope so.


-sleeper

Anonymous said...

WEA has page on how they spend dues - apparently WEA membership means automatic SEA membership, no distinction is made

How My Dues are Spent


reader47

GarfieldMom said...

sleeper, yes, but Anonymous specifically said "just teachers" so I went with just teachers to keep my numbers apples-to-apples.

Total dues are NEA dues + WEA dues + SEA dues.

Anonymous said...

When union dues increase, it's a reminder that as a member your vote matters. SEA members need to vote. When my union dues increased (transportation industry), the election that followed saw change in leadership, for the better. Your leadership should be skilled in working with the legislature and management and know all the angles. It's a big job. A deadbeat legislature coupled with the national war on teachers isn't making this job any easier, but if your leadership isn't protecting your profession, if they are complacent or too cozy with management, change your leadership.

Westside

GarfieldMom said...

The bigger issue with SEA dues that I see is that the structure is regressive. The amount paid is the same for a first year teacher at the lowest rung to the highest paid teacher at the top of the salary structure (approx. $420/year). SEA dues are based on a percentage of Step1/Lane1, with the amount then being applied as a flat amount on everyone. Now on one hand, that means less levy money ultimately ends up going to SEA than if it were calculated by applying the percentage to each salary. On the other hand, the lowest-paid teachers pay a higher percentage of their income in dues than anyone else. At a certain point, SEA pulls in more in dues when their membership numbers increase vs. when salaries increase.

Jonathan Knapp said...

This blog has correctly reported the voting percentages for the three bargaining units. In rebuttal to "I Was There": more than 2000 certificated employees (mostly teachers) voted on their contract, not 1300. That means about 65% of certificated employees showed up in person to vote.

In response to "Westside", as vice-president back in 2010 I was the leader who worked SEA out of its financial troubles and put us back on a solid financial footing. That included a dues restructuring that resulted in a dues increase for certificated employees and an income-based dues formula for our classified employees. That is to say, we implemented progressivity in dues (attn: "GarfieldMom") for our lower-paid members. In the election that followed that work, I stood for president and was easily elected.

To all the nay-sayer, I say to you that you will see a different appreciation of this contract as we go forward in time. This contract marks a change in the landscape of collective bargaining, particularly for public sector unions. Educators will no longer be painted into the role of lazy, greedy union hacks. Our members engaged at an unprecedented level in the bargain, on the strike, and for the contract vote. They pushed for unusual language in their contract because their union leaders set up structures for them to define and carry out the bargain as they saw fit. They used those structures to fight for their values. They bargained for the common good.

Jonathan Knapp
SEA President

GarfieldMom said...

Jonathan Knapp said...
In response to "Westside", as vice-president back in 2010 I was the leader who worked SEA out of its financial troubles and put us back on a solid financial footing. That included a dues restructuring that resulted in a dues increase for certificated employees and an income-based dues formula for our classified employees. That is to say, we implemented progressivity in dues (attn: "GarfieldMom") for our lower-paid members. In the election that followed that work, I stood for president and was easily elected.

If I am understanding you correctly, you are pointing out than non-certificated members (parapros and SAEOPS) have a progressive dues structure, as noted in Section 2.21c of the bylaws. Bravo.

However, I restricted my comments to certificated members, who do in fact still have a regressive dues structure (Sec. 2.21a-b): dues are 0.946% of Lane 1, Step 1 of the previous year's salary schedule. For 2014-15, that comes out to approx. $420 annually per certificated member (1.0 FTE).

So a first-year teacher with BA is paying dues of 0.946% of their salary, whereas a teacher at the top of the salary schedule would pay dues of only 0.498% of their salary. That's regressive.