On Tuesday, September 02, USEP and District leaders to discuss this year’s priorities in this year’s contract negotiations. The meeting did not bring the sides closer to a speedy agreement.
The District continues to seek restrictions and limitations driving their push to teacher transfers, elimination of tobacco use on district properties, eliminating the Early Retirement benefit, and forcing employees to take their end of the year pay every two weeks over the summer versus the current system.
USEP teams believe that these priorities are not in the best interest of district employees. Instead USEP has offered proposals to compensate teachers and SRP who substitute and to expand badly needed individual planning time for teachers.
The Union will offer an Economic proposal soon, but just received the final health insurance numbers last Thursday and still has not received the finalized SRP salary update.
USEP has responded to the district’s proposal on tobacco use offering them the ability to put the issue to a vote at each affected school and no counter-proposal has been offered by USEP to the district’s desire to limit teacher transfers.
The implication by the Superintendent that USEP is holding up and dragging out the negotiations process is entirely misleading. “With the insurance budget incomplete, and other financial information missing that was requested by USEP from the district, it is difficult to begin to address the economic portion of negotiations,” stated USEP President Kenny Blankenship. USEP has not offered a proposal on teacher pay or the Early Benefit as these are part of the economic package.
The suggestion that USEP is dragging this year’s process out is entirely incorrect. The Union’s role in this and any year’s negotiations is to protect and advance the working and economic wellbeing of its bargaining unit members, which is exactly what USEP is doing, even if it does not fit in the Superintendent’s time table.