For the first time since fiscal year 2009 representatives from the Board and TAAAC will be negotiating on more than just pre-selected topics for re-opening. On this coming June 30, our entire collective bargaining agreement expires. Granted, it is a very mature contract and the task ahead should be less complicated negotiating a brand new agreement with nothing but blank pages waiting to be filled, but we can expect that there will be some significant challenges.
In past years as a whole contracts approached expiration we have sometimes mailed out surveys to assess the priority of common topics. Salary, health care, and workload topped the list every time, but not always in that order. Workload trumped it a few years ago and it showed in the ratification vote for the fiscal year 2009 contract.
This year, such a survey is unnecessary. In the past four years we’ve managed two mid-year 1.25% increases funded internally by the Board, one in fiscal year 2011 following an impasse hearing and one coming mid-year this year that averted another impasse. Changes in health care and in the Maryland’s teacher pension funding have left most of us with less net bi-weekly pay than we had in 2009. The TAAAC team understands clearly that salary is a top priority. Having just worked on health care with much of that work carrying forward into fiscal year 2014, it is logical that workload closely follows salary in priority order.
I would like to use this distribution list to conduct an open-ended survey to solicit suggestions and ideas for some of the other less obvious issues we face, such as substitute coverage, excessive keyboarding time, equity in extra-curricular contracts, leave issues, work environment issues. Please give some thought to what is obstructing you from doing your job efficiently and what might be done to resolve or mitigate the obstruction. Then, forward suggestions to me by Wednesday, October 24.
Thank you, and we will make every effort to keep you informed as negotiations progress.