Sunday, March 30, 2014

Contract talks resume in Anoka-Hennepin on Monday

COON RAPIDS, Minn. March 30, 2014 - The negotiating team for Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota has agreed to resume contract talks with the district starting at 5 p.m. Monday, March 31.

The next bargaining session was requested by the Anoka-Hennepin district negotiations team. It will be held at the offices of the state Bureau of Mediation Services.

AHEM will update the media on the results of the talks on Tuesday morning via email and on our negotations website,

AHEM remains committed to negotiating a fair contract for its 2,800 members. However, a strike authorization vote is scheduled for April 17.

“We don’t have any details about the district’s new proposal may be, but we are looking forward to learning about it and working toward an affordable settlement that is good for our members and our students,” said Julie Blaha, president of Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota.

Friday, March 28, 2014

6-hour negotiating session ends with no deal in Anoka-Hennepin

Here is the press release we sent out just now:

COON RAPIDS, Minn. March 28, 2014 – Negotiators from Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota and the Anoka-Hennepin School District were at the bargaining table for six hours Thursday, but did not reach a tentative agreement on a new contract.

AHEM President Julie Blaha said, “The teams exchanged several proposals, but made minimal progress. We are still apart on our main issues of disagreement, but will continue to look for ways to resolve our differences.”

The negotiating session, which ended at 11 p.m. Thursday, failed to make headway on two key sticking points, including a proposal that would raise health insurance costs long term and a proposed change to the salary schedule that would hurt younger teachers.

AHEM has scheduled a strike authorization vote for April 17. At that time, the 2,800 members of AHEM will decide whether to give their union leadership to the authority to call a strike at a future date. It would not trigger an immediate strike.

Negotiators from the district and AHEM now have met 17 times during the past 10 months. The state the Bureau of Mediation Services is overseeing the talks. No new bargaining sessions are scheduled, although Blaha said the AHEM team remains ready to continue negotiations.

“No one knows more than teachers how disruptive a strike would be for our communities.” Blaha said. “That’s why reaching a fair contract through negotiations is our top priority. However, we also can’t accept a contract designed to divide our membership at a time when the challenges facing our students and our profession require us to be unified.”

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Next Mediation Session Set for Thursday, March 27th

Today, we heard through our mediators from the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services that the district is interested in meeting with us next Thursday, March 27th beginning at 5:00 pm. We have agreed. In addition, three school board members will also be at the table with us.  We appreciate that the school board heard our concerns and is willing to meet with us face to face.

We are looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and working toward a fair settlement.  This does not change any of our other scheduled activities including rallying before the school board meeting on Monday, March 24th, 6:00 pm at the Sandburg Education Center (1902 Second Ave in Anoka) or the strike authorization vote scheduled for April 17th.

We will keep you posted, 

Your Negotiators, 
Paul, LeMoyne, Vicki, Val, Tom, Jay, David, Duane, and Julie

Monday, March 17, 2014

AHEM sets strike authorization vote for April 17

COON RAPIDS, Minn. March 17, 2014 – The teachers in the state’s largest school district will vote April 17 on whether to go on strike against the Anoka-Hennepin school district.

The 80 members of the Representative Assembly of Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota voted Monday to put the question of a strike to their colleagues next month at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

“We still hope to negotiate an affordable contract that’s good for our students and our profession,” said Julie Blaha, president of Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota. “Unfortunately, our negotiations are stuck. We need to finally get the district’s decision makers to the table.”

Negotiators from the district and AHEM have met 16 times during the past nine months and failed to reach an agreement. The key issues have been health insurance, compensation and a district proposal to change the salary schedule in a way that targets young teachers.

No members of the school board have attended any bargaining sessions.

“We’ve been trying really hard to find a compromise that removes all the uncertainty in the budget for next year while being fair to both our newest teachers and most experienced members,”Blaha said, “but for our negotiators, it sure seems like the district doesn’t feel any urgency to get this done.”

No additional bargaining sessions are scheduled. However, the two sides may go back to the table at any time.

Next Steps:
·       Informational meetings: AHEM will schedule informational meetings with teachers prior to the vote. The details will be shared as they become available.
·       The vote: All members of our bargaining unit are eligible to vote. The specific schedule and options for absentee voting will be shared as soon as it is determined.
·       Vote results: If a majority of those voting vote yes, the AHEM Executive Board has the authority to call a strike in the future. The board is not obligated to call an immediate strike.
·       Notice of a Strike: If a strike is authorized by the members and if the AHEM Executive Board calls a strike, the union must give the district formal notice of its intent to strike. A mandatory 10 day cooling off period follows. A strike could begin at any time during the 15 days after the cooling off period.
·       Negotiations: The AHEM Bargaining Team will work toward a settlement. A tentative agreement that makes progress on our priorities will halt this process toward a strike.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mediation Session #4

We are disappointed in the lack of progress during today’s mediation session.  After the movement made during our last session, we are down to resolving a few major issues. We were unable to move forward on those points because the key decision makers for the district - school board members - were absent.   We have met a total of 16 times over ten months (12 in open bargaining, 4 times in mediation) and not one school board member has attended even one meeting.

Last week, we postponed discussion of further actions until this Monday, March 17th. At that meeting of AHEM Building Representatives, our negotiations team will recommend that we schedule a date for a strike authorization vote.  We will share more details at that meeting so that our representatives can decide our next steps.

Throughout this process, our members’ support has been invaluable - thank you.  Together, we can achieve a fair, competitive settlement,

Your AHEM Bargaining Team:
Paul, Jay, Vicki, Tom, LeMoyne, Val, Duane, David, and Julie