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