Thursday, December 02, 2010


What a devil of a post this one, my 666th, will be!

Our local chapter of the AfFT will be voting on a contract in just over a week, the 13th of December to be exact. We will get a chance to read and review the proposed contract on...wait for it...the 13th of December after school and just prior to the proposed time to meet and vote.

Now, I guess I'm supposed to just trust my union, have faith in their ability to negotiate a fair deal for all. But, forgive me if I'm not quite so trusting. Currently, teachers in their fourth year of service with our district are at the same level as a first year teacher--that's because somehow salary steps keep disappearing.

I don't claim to be the most informed union member or somehow legally minded. I teach. But something just doesn't seem right about a union leadership which doesn't allow its membership to study and synthesize the contract they will be asked to vote on. Tell me all the lines you want, "confidentiality" "misrepresentation by the public," whatever! Show me the proposed contract. Give me time to consider its ramifications.

It all adds up to another reason why unions need to disappear as currently constructed.


At 8:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annon Braemar
And so you did not mention that your local has several people in fact a rather large committee doing negotiations with a lawyer contract negotiator for the union and a paid insurance specialist. They represent you and other groups, levels, areas in the contract group.

Part of the idea to vote on the contract is centered around 2 ideas:
1. The committee did the best they could representing you. (You cannot get anything unless you give up something in a trade. Every change costs money.)
2. If you do not agree to your union's best effort a panel will decide in arbitration. That costs lots of $$$ to the union membership and you may lose to lesser proposals (usually half winning points for each side.)
The current economic status of all places in Connecticut, latest history says you lose. Add to that Windham's place in the “ability to pay” list of CT towns (as 168 or 169) means you will get out worse than the proposed contract as negotiated.

Why can't I take the papers home to think about whether I'll agree to the package?
There is much danger in letting hundreds of copies go out into the community. Also that plan means you do not believe the union did the best it could.

Good luck. Remember it's a negotiation. You need to be realistic. The town cannot pay well, or give time, days, other concessions that all equal money. You have to give up something of equal value from the current contract to get anything added in the new one.

At 2:24 AM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

There is one issue as I see it right now, the lack of information. If I am being asked to vote on a contract (which of course I want to do), I want the time needed to know what is in that contract--and my guess is that the majority of union membership would expect the same.
Thanks to any committee that works on developing a contract, but that contract needs to benefit the entire membership. A quick glance at a salary schedule would suggest that has not happened recently.

At 6:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, there has always been a try to balance this and then balance that.

if you give an across the board raise as a % there is a big difference in how in changes the salary steps.

also there is a push to make beginning salaries competitive, but you have many who have served lots of years adn want to have a top salary high for their retirement is based on it.

and then the boe has no money anyway...

it really doesn't matter if you have time to look. the Q is - vote yes or go to arbitration and lose.

you can't compare to other towns as they have a different money situation.
we will all be pretty lucky if Connecticut towns can pay the contracts as agreed upon. I suspect we are much closer to the cliff than most realize.

good luck!

At 10:04 PM , Blogger Dan Edwards said...

THAT has happened to me (us). Vote for a new contract WITHOUT EVEN SEEING IT BEFOREHAND! When I brought up this fact and objection, I was told to "trust your negotiators!"

Result: We teachers got SCREWED royally. And our "trustworthy" lead negotiator retired after saddling us with a markedly worse contract than we'd had, but he had already worked out a cushy union job to fill in a few years until eligible for LIFETIME FULLY PAID HEALTH AND RETIREMENT BENEFITS FROMT THE UNION! He did not have to live with the contract language for retirees.

By the way, we have many retirees subbing now so they can pay the extra $900-1000 month for the "district" provided health insurance benefit.

I'd encourage you to request a postponement of the contact ratification vote until people get the opportunity to see what they are voting for. But then again, you will be BRANDED for thus speaking out. Your call.

I do hope it is a GREAT contract for you. We always get screwed.


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