Bargain Update for 11/2/21 Session:
Your Bargain Team would like to express its appreciation to all the members who have been showing up for these negotiation meetings. Your support is encouraging to the team and sends a message to the district. Thank you!
In this past session the district and REA met for over three hours, the longest session to date. There were multiple exchanges of proposals and significant progress was made on language in articles 26 (Student Services), and 27 (Class Size and Caseload Workload). The district and REA disagree on Article 25 (Reduction in Force), are close on Article 23 (Fringe Benefits), and are still far apart on Article 22 (Compensation). Here is a rundown of where things stand.
A#27, Class Size and Case Load Workload:
REA and the district agreed on using the word “limits” in place of “guidelines” (as per Senate bill 580) for discussing class size and case load numbers for all schools. The district agreed to REA’s proposed language on reducing class size limits for K-1 to 22 students. The district also agreed to a review process for caseload relief to be conducted by the Student Services Committee by the third week of September each year. The work on this article is now largely completed but this is not tentatively agreed to as 27 is in a package with 26 and 22.
A#26, Student Services, Section C, Social-Emotional and Wellness Support Services:
The district and REA have largely agreed on the language for this article for sections A, B, and C. A and B (SPED & ELD) had been agreed to at previous sessions. The significant changes in C are that the district finally agreed to a committee to oversee, review, and propose “best practices for providing emotional and mental health support services to students.” It also includes oversight on staffing needs, structures of services offered, and includes physical health support services as part of its charge. The committee is comprised in the same ways as the Student Services Committee and the ELD Programming Committee. REA see’s this language change as a positive for all. Again, there is no official tentative agreement on 26 as it is packaged with 27 and 22.
A#25, Reduction in Force:
There has been a change in the law which impacts this article. The district and REA have been in discussions about how and when to implement ORS 342.934, which says that cultural or linguistic expertise must be considered along with seniority and licensure when conducting a reduction in force. REA would like this distinction to be a proactive process and not a reactive one. In other words, REA would like for members who meet the criteria of having cultural or linguistic expertise be identified and designated prior to any RIF consideration process. Our suggestion has been to make this determination at point of hire and that it be reviewed annually. The district wants to negotiate an MOU in the event they determine a RIF becomes necessary. Your Bargain Team will stand strong on this issue.
A#23, Fringe Benefits:
The district and REA have been very close to informal agreement on this article. However, in the information request response that the district just shared with REA, there are some ambiguities regarding the insurance pool. Your Bargain Team wants to take its time in sorting this out and has added this topic as an agenda item for a sidebar in the next week. We wo not wish to fully agree to any of the details around insurance or the pool until these ambiguities are cleared.
RSD and REA met in a sidebar on Thursday, 10/28/21, to work out costing differentials prior to the 11/2/21 bargain session. The District team and our team had different methods for costing our respective salary proposals. Originally, our team estimated the cost as the increase of Year 1 Extra Cost + Year 2 Extra Cost + Year 3 Extra Cost = Total Cost. This presumes that the General Fund also grows each year.
The District took another approach with its costing method, a reasonable and common one, and that is “layer-caking”:
Year 1 Total Cost = Year 1 Extra Cost
Year 2 Total Cost = Year 1 Extra Cost + Year 2 Extra Cost
Year 3 Total Cost = Year 1 Extra Cost + Year 2 Extra Cost + Year 3 Extra Cost
Total Cost of Proposal = Year 1 Total Cost + Year 2 Total Cost + Year 3 Total Cost
We didn’t spot that difference in costing methods and so we weren’t making apples-to-apples comparisons. Their “layer-caking” estimate put their proposal in the $13-15 million range. Our initial method of Y1 + Y2 + Y3 led to an $11 million estimate for our proposal, which we commented on during a REA member caucus. However, the “layer-caking” approach results in our proposal costing a total of $17 million. We’re sticking with the “layer-caking” approach from this point forward but wanted to explain why our initial $11 million costing jumped to $17 million.
We see our $17 million cost as well within the District’s financial ability—it would not result in them needing to make any cuts to anything--and is close to the $13-15 million the District already put on the table. We pointed out that their 3%, 3%, 3% proposal would cost them far less than $13-15 million, and those points are involved in the District reassessing their costing methodology in many areas. However, the District team has shown that $13-15 million is already within its financial comfort zone. The District can easily meet our proposal of $17 million.
In the actual bargain session, the district premised their counter with a statement that they were still analyzing our methodology and wanted to take a harder look at the numbers. Therefore, the district is currently unwilling to increase their offer of 3%, 3%, and 3% over three years. REA is holding strong on 7.5%, 5%, and 4%.
The district did agree to REA’s proposed longevity language calling for a salary adjustment of 1% at 15 years of service, 2% at 20 years of service, and 3% at 25 years of service. The district also agreed to our language calling for a 1.5% hourly rate increase for members who assume the duties of an absent administrator. This did come with eliminating the previous language about Teacher In Charge annual stipends.
The district is holding fast to their position of not increasing the early retirement monthly payment. This monthly payment has been stuck at $600 per month for the last 25 years. REA had originally asked for an increase to $1,000. REA subsequently attempted to show the district how to bargain by going to $800 as a compromise. The district says they are not interested. REA will hold strong on $800 as per our members request.
Once again, we want to remind everyone that articles 22, 26, and 27 are being discussed as a package proposal. No single article can be agreed to without the others also being agreed to.
A sidebar will be scheduled for week of November 8th. Time and date to be announced. REA is hopeful that this sidebar will be solution-focused and result in a more collaborative approach to achieving a new collective bargaining agreement
A tentative next bargain date has been established for Thursday, November 18th. REA has asked the district to make this session an in-person meeting with appropriate social-distancing. We have also asked that there be virtual options for anyone who cannot or chooses to not attend. The details for this meeting are yet to be determined. Look for messaging from your Organizing Team.
Your Bargaining Team: Molly F., Bruce M., Bruce S., Joyce R., and Brian Jay
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