Negotiations Updates

Despite the slow but steady progress we’ve experienced since October, yesterday’s session took a troublesome turn. The parties spent nearly eight hours working together and in team caucuses trying to get back on a path that might lead to a tentative agreement. Obviously, there was no tentative agreement reached and the path to one has been obstructed.

From the start, TAAAC’s priorties have been compensation and workload, and they have become virtually equal in significance. Yesterday, progress on both slowed to a virtual standstill.

Compensation: Even in the face of another allocation of maintenance of effort only from the County Executive, some progress was being made toward a settlement that would provide step increases plus some additional enhancement of a modest amount. Responsibility for the sudden change in direction yesterday fell to neither of the parties at the bargaining table. It was Governor Hogan’s recent actions at the state level, leaving local education agencies –including the Anne Arundel Public Schools – to worry whether they will have sufficient state funding even to continue business as usual. The following was excerpted from a MSEA legislative update issued today:

Late Thursday, Governor Hogan introduced another supplemental budget— that again fails to fund the priorities supported 176-10 by Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly. Those priorities include full funding of the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI), a critical part of the state’s commitment to education funding. In this budget proposal, the governor takes $75 million from the GCEI funding and other priorities (state employee salaries and Medicaid funding) and uses it to add money to the state’s supplemental pension payment.

This latest move from the governor further disrupts tenuous budget negotiations and is nothing more than political grandstanding in the 11th hour of the legislative session…

The budget dispute between the Governor and the General Assembly should be settled by April 23, a date which precedes our next scheduled negotiating session. Hopefully, the teams will be able to get back to making some progress – at least on compensation.

WORKLOAD

For yet another session, the Board has not moved on TAAAC’s workload issues other than to reject them. No counter offers, no flexibility. Governor Hogan doesn’t shoulder the blame on this one. Negotiators on both sides of the table recognize how critical the need is to find some relief. Regardless, Board’s negotiators do not appear authorized by the Board – at least not yet – to address it in meaningful contract language. This lack of progress on an issue that’s become so critical to every single employee in the bargaining unit could be significant enough on its own to obstruct a voluntary settlement.

The TAAAC President and staff are reaching out to AR’s for assistance in scheduling 5-10 minute meetings in as many schools as we are able during the months of April and May. When such meetings are scheduled at your schools, please take the time to attend.

THE NEXT BARGAINING SESSION IS SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 28.
EMAILS

Local educators have generated 2,215 emails to the County Executive and Council to date. To those of you who made the contacts, “Thank you.”

There is still time to act. Mr. Schuh will have the budget in his hands for another twenty days. To make a quick contact, go to:

http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1791&ea.campaign.id=36338

There is a default message for your convenient use, but it is often more effective for members to replace it with their own personal messages.

BUDGET HEARING

The Anne Arundel County Council will be holding two public hearings on the FY16 budget. TAAAC will be presenting testimony at the hearing scheduled for Monday, May 11th, 7:00PM, at Annapolis High School. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend.