Friday, July 10, 2009

July 10th Negotiations Session

Today we met with district negotiators at the ESC for our fifth contract negotiations session. We are now beyond the preliminaries and into serious bargaining. We responded to the economic offer the district made at the last session with a counter offer of our own. The district negotiators presented specific language on a number of contract language items for our consideration.

A big part of the meeting was our presenting the district with the rationale behind our economic and language offers. In building meetings, the negotiations survey, and individual communications, our members were clear in their desire to shoulder our proportionate share of the financial challenges facing our district. Based on that message, our team developed a set of principles for creating our proposals. We then took a careful look at the district budget and worked to come to agreement with the district on accurately costing our package. Once we had a principled plan and accurate numbers, we worked to creatively find a way to balance our members' needs with available funds.

Our members are also clear in not wanting business as usual when it comes to negotiations, so we are working toward a timely settlement as well. We are presenting our plans right away, being as clear as we can about our interests and principles. We are avoiding the old fashioned, time wasting style of artificially inflating proposals and holding back information so we can spend months haggling later.

In these challenging times, we will stay focused on the principles of doing our fair share and being creative in both what and how we negotiate.

Our next session will be Tuesday, July 28th with a tentative session scheduled for August 11th as well.

We'll keep you posted - your negotiators,

-Paul, Sandy, Vicki, LeMoyne, David, Gary, and Julie