Thursday, June 9, 2016

June 8th NSEA Contract or Action Vote Meeting

This was only half of the IHS gym! Wow!
Thank you to all who came to last night's meeting! We had an amazing turn out at our Contract or Action Vote Meeting last night at Inglemoor High School! This was our first big meeting since NSEA and NESPA merged. It was great to see teachers and paras together, all in red. You were enthusiastic, passionate, and united!

In case you missed last night's meeting, we provided an overview of where we are in bargaining, how we got here, and took two very important votes. We do not yet have contracts for the certs or ESPs. Be at our Contract or Strike Vote Meeting on Wednesday, August 31st at 5:00 pm in the Bothell HS Gym. Your attendance at that meeting is crucial.

Motion 1: We Will Not Be Divided 
NSEA's certs and ESPs voted overwhelmingly for no confidence in NSD's Executive Director of Human Resources, Jeff Sherwood. We work together in the classroom every day and many of our needs overlap. We are seeking joint bargaining, which is the norm in WEA locals that represent certs and ESPs. Sherwood continues to refuse this request. His refusal is an attempt to divide us in order to weaken us. The intent of a "no confidence" vote is to communicate to NSD's decision makers (including an incoming Superintendent) that they, and Jeff Sherwood, should consider his role in negotiations going forward.

Here is the full motion and rationale:
MOTION: I move for a Vote of No Confidence in Northshore’s Exec. Dir. Of Human Resources, Jeff Sherwood, for his attempt to divide us by refusing to agree to joint bargaining (bargaining together at one table for two contracts) with NSEA’s Certificated and ESP groups. 
RECOMMENDATION: NSEA’s Bargaining Team and Exec Board recommend a YES vote.

RATIONALE: We work together every day, serving the same students in the same classrooms. We are co-workers and colleagues. We voted to merge into one local union, NSEA, to unify our efforts to improve our work and schools, and to create our futures together, like a family. Bargaining jointly is central to these efforts. We have repeatedly requested joint bargaining in order to best address our students’ and schools’ needs and to reach agreements sooner and without a delay in the opening of school. Jeff Sherwood has repeatedly rejected these requests.
In WEA locals that include more than one bargaining group, it is the norm for school districts to bargain jointly. These include Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Mercer Island, Tukwila, and Federal Way. This is also the norm in the private sector where one union local includes multiple groups. 
Jeff Sherwood’s refusal to agree to joint bargaining is an attempt to divide educators who value each other and whose unity at our schools serves our students well. It is deeply offensive to us and should not be acceptable to anyone who understands the work we do together every day at school. We have no confidence in his leadership in Northshore. We will not be divided.

Motion 2: Preparation for a Strike 

NSEA members voted overwhelmingly in favor of preparing for a strike later this year if we are unable to reach tentative agreements for new contracts for the certs and ESPs. To be clear, this was not a vote to strike. This is simply a vote to allow NSEA to prepare for a strike if necessary. If we do not have TAs by August 31st, we will vote to strike. It is imperative that you attend our next meeting on Wednesday, August 31st at 5:00 pm at the Bothell High School Gym.

Here is the full motion and rationale:

MOTION: I move that NSEA members prepare for a strike if necessary to improve our work, schools, and the quality of education for our students. 
RECOMMENDATION: NSEA’s Bargaining Team and Exec Board recommend a YES vote.

RATIONALE: We look forward to the start of school and seeing our students. We do not want a strike. We need contracts that improve our work, schools, and the quality of education for our students. This motion is to prepare for a strike. It is not a motion to go on strike. That decision, if we must make it, will be at the end of summer after we have returned to the bargaining table in August.

Thus far, we have made little progress in negotiations. The best way to avoid a strike and to make progress on our bargaining goals is to be prepared to strike if necessary. We will meet on Wednesday, August 31st to hear updates on negotiations, and hopefully to vote on tentative agreements. At that meeting, if we don’t have tentative agreements, a strike vote will be taken. 
 This strike preparation includes the following: We Will Not Be Divided Commitments (completed at this meeting); picket signs and picketing plans, scheduling of our Contract or Strike Vote meeting; contacting all members via phone to attend this meeting; plans for parent and community outreach and support; and unity actions at our schools on the three non-student days before school; and more.
Next Steps 
  • We will continue negotiations with district administration. We are hopeful that these negotiations will be held at the same table. 
  • Please continue to read our emails, stay in the loop through our facebook page and Twitter feed. 
  • Text NSEA to 41411 to get text updates (we will use this sparingly--we have no intention of spamming you cellphone!). 
  • If your home contact info changes over the summer, email Lydia King with your updates.

We educate Northshore and we will not be divided.