Update 4/24 on Negotiations
April 24, 2018
Unit I Negotiations Break Down Due To Bad Faith Bargaining By The District
Yesterday, PSEA’s negotiation team for Unit I met with the District to try to wrap up negotiations for a successor agreement. As we had indicated to you in the update we sent out yesterday morning as we went in to negotiations, PSEA was hopeful that we would make progress on the three major outstanding issues preventing us from reaching an overall agreement, namely:; Article 7 (Vacation); Article 9 (Leaves); and Article 14 (Wages).
Instead of making progress on any of these three articles, however, the District instead demonstrated its bad faith by making a regressive proposal on a fourth article (Duration) and informing PSEA that the District had no interest in negotiating with PSEA over wages for the 2018-2019 school year. This latest bad faith conduct by the District, coupled with other unremedied unfair labor practices it has committed during the course of these negotiations, have caused the Unit I negotiations to break down entirely.
The District’s Latest Bad Faith Conduct
As we indicated yesterday morning, PSEA walked in to negotiations expecting that the District would present us with a wage proposal similar to the tentative agreement that the District reached with PFT last month (a 2.5% salary increase starting July 1, 2018, and a 3% one-time payment for the 2017-2018 school year). Instead, the District told PSEA, in no uncertain terms, that it is not interested in negotiating with PSEA over salary increases for next year (2018-2019). Instead, the District proposed to PSEA that the contract we are negotiating right now should expire on June 30, 2018 – essentially expiring as soon as we ratify it! Not only is this proposal by the District insulting, it is illegally regressive (it is worse than the District’s last proposal on Duration and conflicts with tentative agreements we have already reached during these negotiations). Furthermore, by insisting that we need to wait until a new round of successor negotiations to discuss wages for the 2018-2019 school year, the District is essentially refusing to negotiate with PSEA over salary increases.
The District’s Previous, Unremedied, Unfair Labor Practices
The District’s latest bad faith conduct towards PSEA comes on the heels of prior unremedied violations of labor law by PUSD. Less than three months ago, PSEA had to file an Unfair Labor Practice (“ULP”) charge against the District with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) over the District’s bypassing PSEA as the exclusive representative of Units I and II by creating a management-dominated committee (the District Budget Advisory Committee or “DBAC”), which the District promptly used as a vehicle to discuss negotiable items with PSEA-represented employees.
In addition, the District has yet to remedy its unilateral change to the agreement PSEA and the District reached on June 3, 2016 over vacation accrual rates. Despite PSEA’s repeated efforts to find a solution to this charge (including during negotiations yesterday), the District has steadfastly refused to remedy its violation. As a result, PSEA has been unable to conclude negotiations over Article 9 (Vacations), which is an additional obstacle to us reaching an agreement on a successor contract for Unit I.
Finally, as we have repeatedly warned the District, it continues to violate the law by unilaterally changing the working conditions of PSEA-represented employees in Units I and II without affording PSEA an opportunity to negotiate over these changes. Given the District’s failure to correct these violations despite numerous warnings by PSEA, it is likely we will now have to proceed to file additional ULP charges against the District with PERB.
The District’s bad faith negotiation tactics are preventing us from reaching agreement on a new contract and preventing us from negotiating over wage increases for the coming school year. Not only does this mean that we will likely have to wait longer for wage increases, but it also means that numerous improvements in contract language which we have painstakingly negotiated over the last two years are likely to be held up.
To be clear, today’s negotiations were only for Unit I. Given how negotiations went today, we have no reason to believe that the District will take a different approach during Unit II negotiations scheduled for May 2. While we would love to be proved wrong, we anticipate that Unit II negotiations will similarly break down next week.
As PSEA informed the District yesterday, we need to consult with our members about how we should hold the District accountable for its bad faith negotiations, which have now reached a point that they are imperiling our ability to negotiate a new contract. We encourage all members to attend the PSEA Board of Directors meeting this coming Wednesday, April 25, at 4:45 at the PSEA offices. We will be providing additional detail over the District’s bad faith bargaining and ways that we as classified employees can hold the District accountable. We will also be providing the latest updates about the situation in Arizona, where tens of thousands of classified employees and teachers statewide are set to go on strike Thursday over their paltry wages.
As always, our ability to win improvements for classified employees depends on having an active and engaged membership. If you have not yet signed a PSEA membership card (attached), be sure to contact your PSEA Site Representative, or call the PSEA office at (858) 842-4980.