(Victor Joecks/NPRI) – Outside of CCEA’s newsletter, which is buried on its website, I haven’t seen this noted anywhere else, so here’s a bit of breaking news.
What could possibly be so important that the association has sent four mailers, two e-mail blasts, repeatedly posted information on Facebook & Twitter, is running a digital billboard message across the valley, and my fellow colleagues keep nagging me to attend?
Your attendance at this meeting is critical because:
1) We will provide an in-depth review of the contract negotiations with the school district, as well as review the district’s proposal.
2) Teachers will be making a decision on the district’s proposal. (Emphasis added.)
If you thought CCEA and CCSD were at an impasse, you’re right. They are. Here’s how CCEA Executive Director John Vellardita describes it in the same newsletter:
First, we are still without a contract with the School District for the 2012-2013 school year. However, even after CCSD declared impasse, CCEA and CCSD have continued negotiations. On August 1, CCSD made an offer to resolve the contract. The Negotiations Committee has decided to bring that offer before the membership for discussion and a decision on August 20.
Here’s what I don’t understand. If this meeting is so important — and since they’re going to be voting on their contract, it is — why haven’t CCEA officials let teachers know that’s what’s on the agenda before now? For instance, if you go to the event sign-up page, all it says about the contract is “I want to learn about the status of contract negotiations.” There’s nothing about taking a vote at the meeting.
It also appears CCEA’s highly paid staffers are going to share details of the contract just minutes before they expect the rank-and-file members to vote on it!
Amazingly, this seems to abide by CCEA’s Policy Handbook which simply state that “[a]ll ratification of collective bargaining agreements is done by written ballot or online voting.”
Depending on attendance, this could lead to a situation where only 200 to 300 teachers (or less) are deciding on a contract for 17,000 of their colleagues.
It appears CCEA’s highly paid officials don’t want the vast majority of teachers to have a voice on the issue that matters the most to them — their contract.
Why isn’t the union releasing contract details now and having online voting open for a week or even a few days? The response rate from teachers — the very workers these union bosses claim to represent — would certainly be higher.
Of course, I’ve just answered my own question. As seen this summer when NPRI did its best to let teachers know about their options regarding union membership, union officials are actively working to take away the choice and voice of teachers.
All teachers need to attend this meeting to make a very important decision. We are expecting a large turnout and seating will be limited. (Emphasis added)
My prediction is that union officials want an overwhelming vote one way or the other (probably to reject the contract), and the best way to ensure that happens is to stack the audience with “in the know” union members and ensure they vote the “right” way.
I’ve put a call into CCEA for their comments. I will update if I get a response.