Tuesday, February 11, 2014

AHEM Annual Elections Rules

2014 AHEM April Election
Officers, Conventions, C&B, Q-Comp, & Eval Plan
Election Rules

1)   Filing Deadlines for all AHEM Officer Candidates for the offices of President and Secretary, Education Minnesota Representative Convention Delegates, and the submission of amendments to the AHEM Constitution and Bylaws will be Friday, February 28 at 4:00 p.m.

2)   Inter-School Mailings to all members from candidates   

a)    Candidates are responsible for the printing and counting of materials.  The AHEM office will provide labels with number of members per site, at the candidate’s request, beginning March 3rd.

b)   Campaign materials will be distributed to members at sites by an AHEM Building Rep.

c)    Materials of candidates for the same race will be distributed at the same time by building reps, if both candidates have provided materials. 

d)   Deadlines for campaign pieces are:  Campaign Piece #1 - due at the AHEM Office by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 28; Campaign Piece #2 - due at the AHEM Office by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11.

3)   Candidate Forums

a)    Each candidate in a contested race will be given 5 minutes each to address the AHEM Representative Assembly on Monday, April 14, followed by a 20 minute question and answer period, with each candidate having an opportunity to answer the questions posed. Questions will be posed by forum attendees via notecards.  The moderator will group similar questions, then randomly choose from the grouped questions until the time has expired.

b)   Timekeeper for each forum will be AHEM Elections Chair Amanda Glover-Peterson.

c)    Candidates may have printed campaign materials available at the Rep Assembly candidate forum.  All candidate materials must be properly disclaimed.  See information on disclaimers below.

4)   An Update Issue will be distributed to members the week of April 7. 

a)    All candidates will be allowed to create a piece for the Update.  Candidates in contested races will be given up to one page.  Candidates in non-contested races will be given up to one-half page.  Once the Update has been sent to the buildings, copies of the candidate pieces will be included on the AHEM website

i)     Set-up/Design of issue will be completed by AHEM Office staff.

ii)    Any necessary editing of a candidate’s piece, due to length, will be completed after communication between AHEM Office staff and the candidate.

iii)  Deadline for sending candidate Update pieces to the AHEM Office is Friday, March 21 at 4 pm

5)   Member notification: AHEM President Julie Blaha will describe the elections process and timetable to bargaining group members via email.

6)   Election Process & Timetable

a)    Monday, April 21 - Ballot Boxes, ballots and voting instructions will be distributed to one building representative per building.  Only members can vote in officer elections (no fair share fee payers). All of those in our bargaining unit can participate in the Q-Comp and Teacher Eval vote.

b)   Tuesday, April 22 and Wednesday, April 23 – Voting is held at ALL sites with ballot boxes being returned to the AHEM Office by 6:00 p.m. on April 23 by a Building Representative who will then assist with the counting of the ballots and signatures from his/her site.  Candidates may observe the vote counting.

c)    Wednesday, April 23 – All voting results will be finalized.  Unofficial results will be announced in the president’s e-mail memo on Thursday, April 24.

d)   Absentee voting will be held at the AHEM Office on Thursday, April 17, Friday, April 18, Monday April 21, Tuesday April 22 and Wednesday, April 23 between 7:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  Any member may vote absentee. A letter will be sent to teachers on paid leaves and ABE Southern site members on Friday, April 7 notifying them that they can vote absentee.

e)    The Executive Board will ratify results of the vote on Monday, May 5.

7)   Campaign Practices

a)    Candidates can request the AHEM Membership Lists, faculty representative and executive board lists, which will include full-share members’ names, building assignments, and home phone numbers.

b)   Buildings may sponsor their own debates or candidate meetings, but these meetings must invite ALL candidates for each contested position and must be scheduled so as to be accessible to all candidates (i.e. outside all candidates’ duty day).

c)    Candidates may use buttons or stickers as a part of their campaign material, but may NOT use any AHEM, Education Minnesota NEA/AFT or AFL-CIO logos

d)   Candidates may solicit or accept funds for their campaign at non-duty meetings and times.

e)    Candidates may only solicit or accept funds from active Education Minnesota members.  Accepting contributions from the employer, including building and district administrators, is strictly prohibited.

f)     Candidates must keep a record of contributions, including donor, amount and date of donation.  If there is an elections challenge, the AHEM Executive Board is authorized to ask for contribution records from a candidate.

g)    Candidates are encouraged to use union businesses to produce all campaign materials.

h)   Candidates are not allowed to use the AHEM office, staff, social media, website, equipment and/or materials for any campaign purposes beyond those outlined above.

i)     The employer may not directly or indirectly contribute to or promote the candidacy of any individual on the AHEM ballot.

j)     No building, site or group may officially endorse or promote a candidate.  However, individual members or individual AHEM leaders may personally endorse a candidate and can be listed as supporters in a candidate’s campaign literature.  (Example:  The AHEM head building rep can personally endorse a candidate, but the building cannot vote as a group to support a particular candidate.)

k)    All printed campaign materials must be properly disclaimed, bearing the identification of the person(s) who prepared the material using, as appropriate, one of the following:

i)     Prepared and paid for by (candidate) for (position).

ii)    Prepared and paid for by the Committee to elect (candidate) for (position).

iii)  Prepared and paid for by (individual supporting a particular candidate) in support of (candidate) for (position).

l)     No campaigning can occur during the teacher duty day.

m)  A candidate must obtain permission prior to using a member’s name or picture in any campaign literature.

n)   The use of any school technology (i.e. fax, voicemail, e-mail, district/school websites) shall not be allowed.  For example, the use of school technology, school provided technology or school compensated technology to send or to receive campaign materials is unlawful and shall not be allowed.

o)    Violations of any of the campaign practices shall be reported to David Kundin at the AHEM Office.  The AHEM Executive Board will have authority as to the ultimate disposition of any challenge due to violations of campaign practices.

2014 AHEM April Election
Officers, Conventions, C&B, Q-Comp, & Eval Plan

Announcement                             February 11           Via email

Filing Deadline                             February 28           Via email to Janie by 4:00 pm

Site Labels Available                  March 3                    Via pickup or interschool mail

Update Deadline                          March 21                 Candidates submit text & pic for Update

Campaign Piece 1                        March 28                 Candidates get first piece to office

Print Election Materials            April 4                      Send ballots, instructions, etc. to print       

Update distribution                    April 7                      Date publication leaves AHEM office           

Absentee Letters                         April 7                      Materials to those on leaves sent out

Campaign Piece 2                        April 11                   Candidates get first piece to office

Candidate Forum                         April 14                   Q&A at the AHEM Rep Assembly

Absentee Voting                           April 17-23            At AHEM Office, 7:30 – 4:30 pm

Q-Comp & Eval Info Mtgs          April 21                   During staff development day

Ballot Box Pickup                         April 21                   At AHEM office or staff development sites

Voting in Buildings                      April 22 or 23        Sites pick one day to vote

Ballot Counting                             April 23                   After school at the AHEM office

Unofficial Results                         April 24                   Via email and on website

Ratification                                     May 5                        At Executive Board meeting

Destroy Ballots                             In one year             Per federal law

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bargaining Update – Cancellation & W2R

Today’s Mediation Session Cancelled: Due illness on the district team, today’s mediation session was cancelled and rescheduled for Friday, February 21st.  Our February 27th session is still on the schedule as well.

Work to Rule Questions: Friday is our 10th day of Work to Rule and I’ll bet you’re feeling it.  Here are some of the questions we are hearing right now:

* Does anyone notice? Believe us, people notice.  We've garnered media attention around workload we haven’t seen in a decade. Interestingly enough, we hear almost exclusively supportive responses. Honestly, we expected more push back from the community. But apart from the common trolling on anonymous internet comment sections, the response has been understanding. Our community knows educators go above and beyond for students.

* Does it work? The main reason AHEM Building Representatives supported W2R is that historically it’s led to results. We can see evidence it's having an effect this round as the district team brought up W2R at the bargaining table with concern - it’s the only action they have formally commented on in fact.

* What if not everyone participates? Even the most ardent union activists struggle to work to rule at every moment. Luckily, we don't have to be perfect to make an impact. The better we do W2R, the more leverage it gives us.  More importantly, the more seriously we take W2R, the more it will help improve our work/life balance.  Related note: remember that W2R looks different for different people.  For instance, if you see someone staying late, it may be for a compensated activity. Special education teachers must complete paperwork or risk discipline, so they may not be able to leave on time.

* How can I help a colleague during W2R? If you see a colleague struggling to let extra work go, have a supportive conversation. You may hear about fears of retaliation – remind them that when we do actions together, there is safety in numbers. You may hear frustration about getting required work done – validate that real problem and help brainstorm solutions. You may hear them wonder about W2R's effectiveness – remind them that we on the Negotiations Team see that it is making a difference. Of course, we honor any decisions our colleagues make about W2R. Our job is not to judge, but to invite them to be part of the solution alongside us.


Your AHEM Negotiations Team: Paul, LeMoyne, Vicki, Jay, Tom, Val, and Julie

Friday, January 17, 2014

Work to Rule Begins January 21st

Work to Rule Begins Tuesday:  To show our commitment to earning a fair, competitive contract settlement, we ask all AHEM members to begin working to rule this Tuesday, January 21st.  Work to Rule is where we only do those things for which we are compensated and withhold the extra duties we take on voluntarily.  One reason this action is effective is that our school board understands how difficult it is for educators to pull back. When we are facing offers that trail well behind other districts' settlements and an attempt to reduce our health insurance benefits, we need to take a strong stand.

Work to Rule Can Look Different from Teacher to Teacher: Remember that Work to Rule can look different for teachers who are on extra service agreements that require time outside the duty day, special education teachers who risk losing their teaching licenses if they don't fulfill paperwork requirements, athletic coaches, and a number of other special assignments. If you have questions about Work to Rule, please email us at ahem@anoka.k12.mn.us.

Learning From Work to Rule: Let's use this time to examine our teaching through the lens of sustainable, productive workloads. Note what you set aside and what you choose to keep in terms of your instructional practices. The last time we Worked to Rule, I used this action like a kind of professional development activity. The result was I focused my practice on the most effective activities and improved my overall performance. I added time with my family that improved my overall mental health. You don't have to go as far as writing a blog like I did (http://juliew2r.blogspot.com/ - be kind, it was an early writing attempt), but pay attention to the changes you make and the effects they have on your work.

Thank You for Taking a Stand: As the negotiations team prepares for our first mediation session this coming Wednesday, January 22; we want to thank you for all you are doing to help achieve a fair, competitive settlement. That kind of effort makes a big difference at the table – the more unified we are, the more power we have to bring about a good result. Even beyond this goal, your efforts will improve  education as a whole. Pulling away obstacles like oppressive workloads helps us all focus on what matters most to our students and that is good for our entire profession.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mediation, Work to Rule, School Cancellation Question

Mediation Session Scheduled: As you read in the update email just before break, we have filed for mediation.  That means we will use Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) support to facilitate our negotiations sessions.  We are scheduled to meet all day January 22nd.  The BMS' policy is to close those sessions to the public, but we will still give you as many details as possible after each session.

Work to Rule (W2R): AHEM leaders have decided to go to a district wide Work to Rule on Tuesday, January 21st. Our goal is to demonstrate our resolve to win a fair, competitive settlement. This is where we walk in together at the beginning of our duty day and leave at the end without taking work home. We stick to our contractual obligations – those things for which we are required and compensated to do. Watch your mailbox for more details next week.

Talking About Work to Rule (W2R):
We don't use our duty time to discuss union issues with parents or students, so how do we explain changes during Work to Rule? Instead of talking about W2R or our contract, think of the conversation as one about setting boundaries and maintaining focus on the most important parts of our work.  This way, we not only keep the appropriate line between work and activism, but we can also improve our workload.  For instance, if a parent asks you to do extra work with a student, you could reply with "I have time from (the start of your duty day) to (when classes start), what day works for you?" You can say no professionally and simply, like "I have other commitments after school, so I won't be able to attend that event." You can describe the realities of your work, for example, "I have 20 other requests for letters of recommendation right now, it will take about three weeks before I'll be able to complete yours." These kinds of statements would be appropriate whether you are working to rule or simply need to reclaim a healthy work/life balance.

Work Out Event Cancelled Due to Lost Days: Given the shortened amount of time between returning after break and next Wednesday, our Executive Board decided to cancel next week's event and hold the idea for a future date. We'll use the time to focus on being ready for W2R on January 21st.

Good Question: Why didn't we have to come in when school was cancelled? Our contract states that teachers do not come in when school is cancelled and can't be docked for missing those days (page 6). The work of colleagues before us to win that item in bargaining is the main reason we were not called in Monday and Tuesday. (Thanks to Oakview's Doug Jones for suggesting this question.)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bargaining Update – Moving to Mediation

Six months of bargaining between the AHEM negotiations team and the district representatives have produced so little progress that we believe it is now time to request state mediation.

We expect this step will unfortunately move talks behind closed doors, but we believe it will also accelerate our progress toward a fair and competitive settlement that will allow our educators to once again give their undivided attention to teaching and learning.

Our meeting Wednesday evening finally convinced us that we needed to try something new. It was the twelfth contract bargaining session and we made no significant progress. The current district offer is virtually unchanged from their first offer.

The district continues to insist that almost all the new money on the salary schedule come from a decrease in the value of health insurance benefits. In addition, the district has yet to respond to a number of our proposals, including extending parental leave to mothers.

More specifically, on Wednesday the district team claimed there is no real difference between the Choice Select and Elect/Essential health insurance plans. They repeated their proposal to change from 100 percent single coverage to a flat dollar amount that would need to be renegotiated each round of contract bargaining.

They also did not move from their last salary schedule increase offer of Steps 1-11: zero percent the first year and 1 percent the second; Career Steps: 1.25 percent the first year and 1.55 percent the second; and the addition of "Step 11.5" to add a year between step 11 and Career 1. (For more details, visit www.ahemnegotiationsnews.blogspot.com.)

As you can see, we need the help of the Bureau of Mediation Services. We anticipate the mediator will follow standard practice and close sessions to the public, but we will continue to provide you with as many details as possible during mediation.

Your input and participation has been invaluable to us. We cannot exaggerate the importance of the support we felt when hundreds of our colleagues gave up their nights to attend bargaining sessions.

We are honored to work on your behalf for a contract you deserve for the great work you do, and that helps you educate your students effectively. 

We wish you a rejuvenating break and will keep you posted,

Your AHEM Negotiations Team: Paul, LeMoyne, Vicki, Jay, Tom, Val, and Julie

Monday, December 16, 2013

Bargaining, Work to Rule, Work Out Event, BTYR, Thank You

Bargaining: We have our 12th bargaining session this coming Wednesday, December 18th, 4:45 pm, Erling Johnson Room D at the ESC.. We are hoping for a district response to a number of language items, and the key discussion will be over health insurance and our overall compensation package.  We hope you can be there in red to hear the discussion for yourself first hand. We have had over two hundred different members attend these sessions and that support and feedback has been invaluable to our negotiations team.  To catch up on the details, visit ahemnegotiationsnews.blogspot.com   Hope to see you Wednesday!

District Wide Work to Rule:  We are almost six months beyond the date to renew our contract. Sites have engaged in a variety of work actions to draw attention to the air of instability and uncertainty an unsettled contract causes in our schools. Our governing body, the Representative Assembly which is made of up members from each site, decided that if we have not made significant progress in negotiations by mid January, we would urge all of our members to begin "working to rule" on Tuesday, January 21st. We would withdraw our unpaid work and only be at school during our duty day or for activities for which we are paid. We wouldn't take on new projects and change how we structure our day to get things done between the bells.  Though this is a difficult action, we need to end the uncertainty and instability an unsettled contract causes in our schools.

Let's Work Out – Sharing the Extra Work We Do with Our Community: Too many members of our neighbors are unaware of the scale of the unpaid, voluntary work teachers do for their students.  We invite you and your "homework" to come to Brunswick Zone in Blaine on January 15th.  On this anniversary of what used to be a legislatively mandated settlement deadline, we will invite our local residents and the media to see just what teachers really do by taking the work we normally do at home or after hours out into the community.  Meet us at the bowling alley whenever your duty day ends with the work you normally take home to do.  We'll provide the pizza and pop, you'll provide a real look at the real lives of teachers.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon: On Saturday, the city of Anoka was proclaimed a Yellow Ribbon City for their work supporting military connected families. AHEM is proud to be part of this effort and special thanks go out to Daryl Hathaway for leading the city team, Renee Blue for chairing the education subcommittee, and Amanda Herman for serving on the steering committee. Congratulations to the entire Anoka Yellow Ribbon team for efforts. More info here: http://abcnewspapers.com/2013/12/06/anoka-becoming-yellow-ribbon-city/

Holiday Thank You:  This season when the light fades is a good time to look inward and take stock of the blessings in our lives.  All of us at AHEM are deeply fortunate to support one of the most amazing groups of educators anywhere.  We have the joy of celebrating your successes, defending your boldness, and supporting the bright future you work to create for your students.  Thank you for all you do for your students, schools, union, and entire community.  Have a safe and rejuvenating winter break!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bargaining Session #12, Conversations on Safe Schools Bill, Minimum Wage, & Teacher Quality

Bargaining Session #12: Join us Wednesday, December 4th, 4:45 pm, Erling Johnson Room D. Member presence at these sessions has been invaluable, we hope you can attend to see bargaining first hand and support a fair, competitive settlement. See you in red on Wednesday!

Safe and Supportive Schools Bill Call to Action: The effort to pass the anti-bullying bill that came so very close last legislative session is kicking off this week. Join a coalition of over 80 education and youth organizations (view the list at http://mnsafeschools.org) Sunday, December 8 at South High School (3131 19th Avenue South in Minneapolis) at 2:00pm. With your support, Minnesota can go from having one of the weakest anti-bullying laws in the country to one of the strongest.

Town Hall Meeting on Raising the Minimum Wage with Sen. John Hoffman: Low wage workers perform many important jobs in our community. They staff our restaurants, clean our hotels and workplaces, and work at many other service, retail, manufacturing and healthcare related jobs. As educators, we see the link between fair wages and for parents and their students academic achievement. Share your perspective with a key local legislator on Tuesday, December 10th, 6:30-7:30pm, Coon Rapids Civic Center (1155 Robinson Drive, Coon Rapids).

Community Conversation on Teacher Quality: Education Minnesota leaders are hosting statewide conversations to improve teacher preparation, recruitment and diversity. Parents, educators, students, advocates, community leaders -- anyone interested in the future of Minnesota public education -- are invited to attend.  Join the discussion Thursday, December 12th, 6:30-8:30 pm at Park Center IB World High School (7300 Brooklyn Boulevard in Brooklyn Park). For more information visit: http://www.educationminnesota.org/community/conversations.aspx