Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bargaining Update: May 3, 2016

Northshore Administration Tries to Divide Educators and Schools

Last week, in two negotiation sessions for our Certificated contract, the administration replied "No" to our request to bargain both NSEA contracts (Certificated and ESP-Educational Support Professionals) together in joint negotiations. This is disappointing and appalling, but their efforts to divide us will not succeed.


We work together as an educational team in our schools every day. We asked for joint negotiations to best address many common educational issues together with a "big picture" view (e.g. paraeducator hours and staffing levels). Both contracts are being negotiated right now, with the ESP contract still unresolved after one year of negotiations (bargaining began in April, 2015). The Administration presses to continue the low pay/few hours/temp job system for ESPs that saves the District money, but is at the expense of our students, our teachers, and schools who must heavily rely on under paid, part time, and temporary staff who too often must leave for better jobs.

Jeff Sherwood, the Executive Director of Human Resources is the key District decision-maker on labor-relations and bargaining for all NSD employees. We hope he reconsiders and recognizes that dividing educators is not a way to improve our schools, and it's not going to work. We will not be divided.


Bargaining together for the two contracts would be far more likely to result in a better outcome for staff, students, and the administration. It would respect the desire and vote of Certs and ESPs to be a team, as evidenced by a 93% Cert vote and 98% ESP vote to merge as NSEA. Equally important, bargaining jointly would be much more efficient in getting an agreement by our June 8th meeting, and is the best way to avoid a delay in the opening of school. We will not be divided.

This is the norm where a union local includes more than one bargaining group. Even Boeing (generally not considered a pro-union/pro-employee company) negotiates together with its engineers and its technical employees for their separate contracts. They are both part of one local: SPEEA Local 2001, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. It is the norm in hospitals, hotels, and most of the economy where one union local includes multiple groups.

It is also the norm in every WEA local that includes teachers and support professionals: Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Tukwila, Mercer Island, and Federal Way. Unity is one of our core values-unity with each other and with our students and schools. We build unity in our classes. Administrators who ignore this don't understand education or educators. We will not be divided.


On Tuesday and Thursday last week, we heard the administration's responses to our Certificated proposals. Mostly we heard them explain why their current answer is "no", but we expect that to change with your support. NSEA's librarians and members from Kokanee buoyed our spirits by bringing us food, flowers, and supportive posters on each day of bargaining. Yesterday, the ESP and Certificated Bargaining Teams and Exec Board leaders met together to discuss how we will coordinate our efforts. We have requested meetings to continue ESP negotiations.

How to Help Achieve The Improvements We Need

  1. Be at the Contract or Action Vote meeting on Wednesday, June 8th at 4:15 pm at Inglemoor High School, unless you are sick.
  2. Be at your school's short NSEA meetings.
  3. Read your home emails from us and wear RED on designated days to show your support (you'll be getting your t-shirts soon!)
  4. Text the word NSEA to 41411 to get bargaining updates.
  5. Like us on facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  6. Read our last newsletter for our bargaining goals. 

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