Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Member Training Dates

Membership meetings are scheduled at various buildings throughout the district. You are invited to attend any or all of the meetings, but please plan to attend at least one.

Your bargaining team will share information about bargaining, our new insurance, the board imposed insurance cap, and MESSA. You will also have an opportunity for questions.

All meetings will begin at 4 o'clock and last for approximately one hour. The meeting schedule is:

Thursday, February 23, at Harrington

Monday, February 27, at Longfellow

Thursday, March 2, at WMS

Monday, March 6, at HHS

Thursday, March 9, at EMS

On the day of the meeting, please expect a reminder along with the room location for that day's meeting.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

HEA Pitches New Idea to Board

February 1, 2006

HEA Negotiating Team Pitches New Idea To Board With Guaranteed Cost Containment on the Issue of Health Care

As reported earlier, your negotiating team met last Wednesday with Barb Ruga, Carol Minnaar, and Kevin Clark. As a result of that meeting, we set another date for January 31 to reconvene and further discuss an idea that your HEA team brought through an informal discussion with Carol and Barb. As of December, we were informed that the board’s team from this point forward would consist of Kevin, Carol, and Barb.

We put together a package idea that contained little (maybe none) salary gains over this year and next, and also guaranteed cost containment towards the board’s portion of our insurance premiums. In fact, in 06-07, they would have had to pay no more than $300,000 LESS than what the Super Care 1 costs are for our bargaining unit this year. Our idea contained the MESSA PPO (Choices II) plan we have had as our tabled position for several months now.

Though this idea was a huge compromise from our tabled position, we were hoping the board would see to it that a compromise on their position as well would be in the best interest of both parties at this point in time when they are wanting to focus on restructuring the district and dealing with the added controversies this will bring.

Our idea, coupled with the upcoming selection of what appears to be the board’s favored “Orange Plan,” and the savings they are claiming it will generate, would have put the district in the business of saving money next year and every year after.

We can’t give you hard numbers on this savings because the board seems to have abandoned its prior strategy of updating and mass producing “3 Year Projections” to justify its bargaining position. Since we incorporated the figures of their “3 Year Projection” into our more recent tabled proposals, asking that the board pay us any differences between those projected figures and what ended up being the actual truth, we haven’t seen any more of these updated spreadsheets.

No mention of utilizing the estimated $2.5 million dollars in additional savings that the “Orange Plan” generates annually, and is non-accounted for in their most recent “3 Year Projection,” has been brought to your HEA team during negotiations. They were cranking out new and updated versions of these things on a daily basis just a few months ago. You may recall that it was this “3 Year Plan” that was repeatedly used to justify the board’s need to illegally impose on us the health plans we are soon to receive.

Evidently, the pay that will not be given to 20 less teachers, as speculated in several of the CAC restructuring options, has 0% earmarked for us.

Tuesday, the board/Kevin did counter our idea with an informal idea of his own that was, in ways, worse than their “Final Economic Proposal” from October 26. In the most basic terms it was a restatement of their imposition. Your team rejected this idea, but put our thinking caps back on for another go at it.

We worked hard as a team trying to find another option to consider and we did. We pitched an informal idea that meant us accepting their cost containment needs for this year (as contained in Kevin’s informal counter given just prior). In fact, it might have exceeded them. We thought that we could lay negotiations to rest, team together to work through the upcoming restructuring decisions, take a deep breath, let the dust settle, and move on to the negotiations for next year’s contract with a clearer head and more factual knowledge of the decisions yet to come.

Kevin rejected this idea too. Or at least we assume it was Kevin, since the rejection came from “the Board.” Now it appears that Mr. Clark will soon abandon his duties and responsibilities with the district entirely, and leave these and other unsolved problems for someone else to clean up.