Happy Summer. I hope that everyone is having a wonderful summer break. I am taking some time to rest and recharge and I hope you are as well. We have much ahead. We are still in negotiations for the 2018-19 school year and there is a vital school board election in November.
Last week the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 holding that agency fee agreements are not constitutional in the public sector. In other words, public sector employees are no longer required to pay their fair share. Although we still must represent all employees, individuals can now choose to not pay dues. The goal of the people who brought this case to the Supreme Court was to destroy public sector unions and therefore take away our power. The media will have you believe that this is a foregone conclusion. The opposite is proving to be true.
As expected, the financial backers behind this case have begun the second part of their attack on organized labor. They are contacting union members and encouraging them to resign from their union with promises of an instant pay increase when you no longer pay union dues. The American Federation of Teachers is reporting that this plan is not working as members are standing with their union.
What does this mean for the Petaluma Federation of Teachers? PFT 1881 is a strong united union with a shared goal of working together to achieve the best possible education for our students as well as the best possible contract for our members. We have demonstrated our strength, resolve, and unity in the past and I am confident we will continue to do so. Any attempt to weaken or discourage us will fail.
May 30 was the last negotiation session before summer break. There were conversations on parity and stipends. In a effort to move things along, both the District and PFT agreed to return with contract proposals at our next session on August 6. In addition to August 6, negotiation sessions were scheduled for August 30th and September 19th.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-696-5118 if you have any comments, questions or concerns.