Monday, October 28, 2013

AHEM Negotiations Team Statement to the School Board, 10.28.13

Chair Heidemann, Members of the Board, Superintendent Carlson, and all those who have gathered to observe.

My name is Paul Goupil and I am the lead negotiator for Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota, our district’s teachers union.

I am here with an invitation to the next contract bargaining session between our district and our teachers.

As you know, this round we have decided to open school employee contract bargaining in a new way. 

Instead of keeping our work private, we have opened up the process.  Our proposals and agendas are shared publically on our website and we have invited our members and neighbors to attend the meetings in person.

Over the past nine bargaining sessions attendance has increased steadily, to the point that we have needed to move to larger rooms.  Interest is high, and growing.

We are reaching a crucial point in bargaining. Virtually everything is now on the table. We have come to some small agreements on language items. Both sides have made economic offers, and the teachers have made some economic movement.

However, the district side has now made three economic offers, none of which have changed in value. Any increases to one kind of compensation have come with equal decreases in another compensation area.  In total, the district offers have the same effect on teachers as our last settlement of a soft freeze. All of this despite an improvement in district finances.

We don’t want to get bogged down in simply rearranging offers. Bargaining needs to be more than just pushing veggies around the plate to make it look like you’ve eaten your broccoli.

So what’s missing? We have increased transparency, teacher involvement, and communication.

The one thing missing is you. We invite you to attend our sessions. In the past, when we’ve had difficult problems, we’ve solved them by all coming together and working toward a solution.

It’s time for that now.  We hope to see you at our office, 4:45 pm, November 6th. Thank you.