President’s Report to Rep Council
Jan. 8, 2018
• In December, you were asked to poll members on three questions: what did they love about their job, what obstacles stood in their way, what we can do together to remove these obstacles? Thank you to the Reps who returned the feedback. If you have not done so, please complete this task as soon as possible and send the results to the FSUTA office. These answers will drive our organizing goals.
• Thank you for sending your Site Teacher of the Year selections before Winter Break. If you have not done so, you may still honor a teacher at your site. Site Teachers of the Year and District Teacher of the Year will be recognized at the Governing Board meeting on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 6:00 PM.
• Two resolutions are being brought to Rep Council for discussion and voting. One is in opposition to granting the petition to Elite Public School – a non-public county wide charter school, and one in support of a new CTA/NEA local – California Virtual Educators United. Please review prior to the meeting.
• Elementary In-Lieu has been a source of struggle this year with the district reexamining our mutually held understanding of this topic. In meetings with Rob Martinez, Cindy Brown, Martha Lacey and Keitha Bryan, we have hammered out a new understanding of elementary in-lieu.
In going back to the contract language, Article 19.8, in-lieu is defined as performance of substitute service by an employee during assigned prep time. This is easily understood and applied in secondary settings but became difficult for elementary when they lost their prep time due to budget cuts (loss of elementary release specialists). During that period of no release/prep time, when students were divided among different teachers because of a lack of substitutes, FSUTA and FSUSD agreed elementary teachers would receive in-lieu pay. This was a standing practice for many years.
Now that elementary teachers’ prep time has been restored, a return to contract language is warranted. In-lieu, for both elementary and secondary, is still first sought on a voluntary basis, and if mandated, must be distributed equitably. The first five hours are still paid at curriculum rate with hours six through ten paid at per diem. After 10 hours, a teacher may refuse to perform in-lieu.
What is new for elementary teachers is how site administration will handle in-lieu situations now that prep time has been restored. When an elementary in-lieu is needed, the site administration will:
1. Avoid an in-lieu situation by assigning teachers to provide coverage who are being paid to work with students but do not have students assigned for the entire day. Examples of these teachers would include: release time specialists with open slots, TK and K teachers when not teaching their assigned students, or other support specialists (academic support teachers for example). They must still be allowed their own prep time during that day. As these teachers are not working through their prep period, and should be working with students, an in-lieu situation is not triggered so no in-lieu payment is received. Teachers without assigned students on a roster, such as Academic Support teachers for example, may not be assigned to cover students for more than 84 minutes per day without triggering an in-lieu situation.
2. Any elementary teacher assigned to cover an in-lieu during their prep period, will be paid for an in-lieu as outlined in the contract and may refuse after 10 hours in a school year. The 42-minute in-lieu will be paid for and counted as an hour.
3. If students must be divided among classes because no other in-lieu options are available, each elementary teacher who takes students into their classrooms will be paid hourly in-lieu and may refuse after ten hours per year. Class size limits do not factor into in-lieu payment.
• We are having a mid-year membership sweep. The first phase is to find 53 people who show up on payroll but we have no record of these folks. Currently they are divided among 15 sites. Site Reps for those sites will receive a packet of membership forms and welcome letter. If your site is among the 15, please approach these folks and have them complete a membership form as early in January as possible and return it to the FSUTA office. Once those are received, we will begin phase two of our sweep. Our goal is to have an accurate roster for each site by February.
• Knowing our members and discussing the value of membership is the push for this spring, due to the anticipated blow to our union, and all other unions in the United States, when the Supreme Court rules on the Janus case.
In short, Janus changes our current system of members and agency fee payers to a system of members and non-members. Currently, all certificated employees have equivalent deductions from their paycheck to cover the cost of bargaining and maintaining our contract. Some chose to not become union members but still pay their fair share to cover the costs of our union.
After the Janus decision, anticipated this spring, we will go to a system of members and non- members, with non-members no longer paying their fair share. Non-members are still bound by our negotiations and contract but no longer pay agency fees. Of course, non-members will not have any of the benefits of membership.
In other words, we have to do the same work bargaining salary and working conditions, and enforcing our contract, but will have less financial means to do so. If we did not have the money to pay for our bargaining team’s release time, do you think we would have moved the district to put the 1% onto the salary scale? Will the district seriously try to settle grievances when they know we do not have the money to take issues to arbitration? What will happen to teachers who are not members and have no professional liability insurance? Without CTA to protect our STRS retirement, will it fall victim to outside influences as have happened in other states who lost “fair share”?
There will be more information coming to you in the months ahead.
• Restructuring time is rapidly approaching. In discussions with the district, we agree the process of restructuring has become a bit too lax in past years. Restructuring is a serious process because it is essentially negotiating changes to a ratified contract. If your site is thinking about restructuring, the first hurdle to clear is having elected site representatives. Only site representatives can write the plan, in conjunction with site administration, and only elected site reps can hold the vote. If your site did not elect site representatives for this year, you cannot restructure. We will be scheduling a training for site reps explaining the rules for restructuring and answering questions in February.
• Each Site Rep is being given two hard copies of the last printed contract 2015-16/2016-17 and a copy of the latest bylaws and standing rules. These are the governance documents for F-SUTA. We suggest keeping one copy in your box at work and the other at home or in your classroom. Copies of both are available on this web site.