NTA EBulletin May 21, 2023
In this issue:
At the Negotiations Table: Session #11
At the Negotiations Table: Session #11 by Elizabeth Ross Del Porto and Christine Walsh
Your NTA Negotiations Team met again on May 18 with members of the NPS Administration Team and School Committee. The addition of cow bells to Line the Halls was a most welcome addition to the hullabaloo of applause of cheering and union chants. Also spotted in the crowd - some Newton South graduates! We thank you and we need you again on June 1st and June 12!. Why? The sea of blue shirts, the cheering, the union call-and-response - they all send a clear message to the other side that our membership is WITH US in our negotiations. It’s a pretty easy ask at about 45 minutes! Click here to sign up! So how did it go? Wellll… First the good news. The tone continues to be collegial, with each side taking time to caucus privately before making several T.A.s (that’s negotiations-speak for tentative agreements), in varying degrees of import. Generally, it does feel good to reach agreement on some things. One win of the night was a tentative agreement to compensate middle and high school unit A members who cover classes. (For elementary teachers who are thinking, “Whaaat?”, it is common practice in the secondary schools for administrators to ask unit A members to cover absent colleagues’ classes during their own free blocks.) Unfortunately, there was also a rather big elephant in the room, COLAs. As a reminder, when we last negotiated and after the School Committee’s shockingly low original proposal, the NTA countered with:
COLA for Stepping employees
COLA for Employees at the top of the scale
FY2024: 5.8% (change from 6%)
FY2025: 4% (no change)
FY2026: 4% (no change)
AND Step increases move to September 1, 2024 (representing an offer to move it one year back).
We came to the table last week ready to hear their thoughts about our counter proposal. What we heard was… nothing. They did not counter-propose; nor did they ask any questions; nor did they address the COLA topic at all. We finally had to ask, “Are you going to respond to Item 1, the COLAs?. The reply was a very brief, “No.” That’s it. As a reminder, their current proposal is:
COLA for Stepping Employees
COLA for Employees at the Top of the Scale
FY 2024: 1.5%
FY 2024: 1.9%
FY 2025: 1.6%
FY 2025: 2.0%
FY 2026: 1.7%
FY 2026: 2.0%
Total over 3 years: 4.8%
Total over 3 years: 5.9%
And just for a little context, here are some recent T.A.s/contracts in other districts:
Lynn: 15.5% over 3 years
Woburn: 14% over 3 years
Winchester: 12% over 3 years
Franklin: 12% over 3 years
Malden: 12% over 3 years
Chelsea: 14% over 3 years.
Do you have thoughts, feelings, or opinions about the School Committee’s current offer? Come to the General Membership Meeting on May 25 at 7:30 on Zoom. Sign up here to preregister.
One day a week modified work to rule began this week with a bang! To see pictures of walk-ins and walk-arounds from across the district, click here. As we expected, this action will unfold differently in different buildings--different days, different times, different styles. Make sure you send take pictures of your walk-ins every week. Either DM the photos via the NTA Facebook or Instagram accounts, or email to Liz Simpson at email@example.com. More on the campaign: Fig City Newton, Newton's primary source for local news, did a lead article on our contract campaign and work to rule action. Click here to read the article. Parents have created a webpage and petition (600 + signatures so far--please sign) to restore kindergarten aides. We continue to put up lawn signs. We have 500 more in the office now that we just had printed. Sign up here to get yours delivered. If you would like to have signs for walk-ins, let your building reps know, and we will get them out to you. We still need you to line the halls. Please no fall off on this action. Your bargaining team needs YOU! Please sign up here for our upcoming bargaining sessions! (Dates shown in sign-up genius) If you haven't already, sign up for our May 25 General Membership Meeting, where the focus will be on what's happening in negotiations. Click here to sign up. Finally, last but certainly not least: Rather than hold a third General Membership Meeting on June 15, we will be holding a RALLY on the lawn of City Hall. Mark you calendar if you haven't already. All hands on deck--this is a final action of the year. Exact time of the rally to follow.
NPS Calendar Survey
Carolyn Campos sent out a staff survey on the calendar to support the Calendar working group on May 17. Many of our Building Representatives have gotten inquiries about whether members should fill this survey out, since the School Committee has proposed changes to the calendar in bargaining. Yes, please fill out the survey. I met with representatives of the administration to vet the survey. (Thank you Katy Hogue and Kathleen Smith.) There is no conflict of interest, as this survey really is to provide information to the calendar working group, and no questions that might bias bargaining appear within the survey. Moreover, the NTA is represented on the Calendar Working Group. If you have not already, please fill out the survey. I will not include a link here, as the survey is a document internal to the NPS.