Welcome back. I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing summer. If you are like me, it seems like a distant memory. It is amazing how quickly we get back into school routines.
Hopefully your year is off to a great start. For those of you who are new to our district, welcome. We are honored to have you as a member of the Petaluma Federation of Teachers. This is my second year serving as PFT President. Again this year, I will be teaching second grade at Valley Vista on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday will be my union days. On those days I will be in the office or attending meetings.
We continue to work this year without a contract. Despite much effort by our Negotiation Team this summer, we were not able to reach an agreement with the District. Our existing contract will remain in effect until we are able to ratify a new one. There are two important exceptions that have an impact on our members. The first is that we are able to organize and carryout concerted activities. Our Work to Rule Week last year is an example of a work action or concerted activity.
The second exception is one that favors the District. The District is not required to participate in binding arbitration when we do not resolve a grievance. The District has chosen to use this exception with each of the grievances we filed last spring. Two grievances were related to evaluations not being completed in the manner agreed upon in our contract. Another grievance was filed regarding staffing at Mary Collins at Cherry Valley. The fourth grievance was filed by the Federation when our members did not receive the parity increase the District's own study found to be due. For the first time, the District decided the parity increase was for only the three salary scale placements listed in our contract. The Federation strongly disagreed with the District's questionable contract interpretation and immediately filed a grievance. The District refused to change their position and the School Board sided with them. The District via their lawyer, Margaret Merchat, has informed the Federation the District will not be participating in binding arbitration. It leaves one to question the District's desire to work with the Federation to solve these issues and other problems as they arise.
I would love to come to your site and speak with you in person. You can email me at email@example.com. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or need support.
Your Negotiations Team worked through the summer in an effort to secure the best possible contract. Negotiations entered a new phase this summer, pre-mediation. Pre-mediation is much like mediation with one important difference. As in mediation, we had the help of a mediator and we were not in the same room as the District's team. Unlike mediation, the District cannot declare impasse and impose their best and final offer. We have not reached an agreement with the District, and at this time , we are bound by a confidentiality agreement. As always, we are hopeful.
GET TO KNOW YOUR CONTRACT!
You can find our contract and appendices online at pft1881.org. Look under the tab titled Contracts. You can also find it on the PCS website. To find it there go to Departments, Human Resources, and Employee Contracts. Regardless of the site you use, remember to check both appendices too,
Article VIII Leaves
Article VIII is the section of our contract that pertains to leaves . Section C is about Personal Necessity Leave. Please take the time to read this section for yourself. You are allowed to use up to 6 days of personal necessity leave a year without giving a reason. However, you may not use more than 4 consecutive days without stating a reason. Section C.4 states that except in emergency situations, employees wishing to take a personal necessity day will notify the building principal or immediate supervisor no later than noon on the previous school day. Some sites require a form be completed while others do not. If you are asked to complete a form, do so. Remember to leave the reason line blank. You do not have to give the District a reason for your first 6 personal necessity days. Please remember that Personal Necessity is for personal or professional need.
THE FEDERATION NEEDS YOU!
We currently have the following Executive Council Openings:
Please consider joining our leadership team. Contact me at 707-696-5118 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in serving.