As we head into the summer months, your colleagues on the USEP bargaining teams will continue to volunteer their time and talents to work toward a settlement with the District for the 2015-2016 contracts. We hope that you will take an active interest in negotiations and follow our progress through our summer bargaining updates.
You can sign up for these updates to be sent to your home email address through the following link: http://www.summer-updates.useponline.org/
Since launching our negotiations at the end of April, the District and Union Instructional bargaining teams have met three times to present and discuss a number of proposals. The SRP bargaining teams have already met four times. So far, several tentative agreements have been reached; you can read a more detailed account in the Bargaining Progress Report, posted to the USEP website at the following page:
Some of the more significant proposals already on the table have come in the form of language openers. USEP has offered improvements to dismissal language in both the Instructional and SRP contracts, seeking an expanded definition of “progressive discipline” and limiting the force and effect of informally documented concerns. Additionally, USEP’s SRP team has proposed language intended to improve time allocated for additional responsibilities in bus drivers’ and transportation assistants’ work days.
The District is pursuing a mutual agreement over expanded Sick Leave Donation language. USEP has investigated open sick leave donation as it has been implemented in more than a dozen other districts in Florida. Since there appears to be no one right formula when it comes to the language implemented by others, USEP has recommended that the District implement this program as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This would allow our bargaining teams to introduce, monitor, and tweak the program over the course of two or three years, ultimately resulting in the best possible language to ensure the long-term viability of the program. The District also proposed expanding substances tested under Addendum F-Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing Program. The expanded test panel would include testing for some commonly prescribed drugs; USEP is investigating the possible ramifications of an expanded test panel.
Though the Florida legislature has created something of a delay in their failure to pass a budget during the 2015 regular session, USEP remains optimistic that we will be able to reach an early settlement that will benefit all members of our bargaining units. We anticipate turning the conversation to compensation later this summer and will continue to work on teacher evaluations and other important issues in the interim.
All bargaining sessions are open to observers, and we invite you to attend as your summer schedule permits. Our next bargaining sessions will be:
- Instructional – 5:30pm on Tuesday, June 9th, at the USEP Office
- SRP – 1:30pm on Wednesday, June 10th, at the USEP Office
Future bargaining updates will be emailed to the work email addresses of all bargaining employees and to the home email addresses of those who signed up to receive bargaining updates over the summer. Updates will also be posted online at the USEP website.
The Board and USEP essentially bargain two kinds of proposals:
language and memorandums of understanding
Language is more enduring and carries automatically from one contract term to the next. Changes to language require that one or both parties “open” a section of the contract, and the number of “openers” for each party is limited within each bargaining cycle. Language tends to be more difficult to modify.
Memorandums of Understanding are limited agreements that can expire with each contract year. They must be reviewed and agreed to by both parties in order to carry from one contract year to the next.
As you plan your summer budgets, it may be helpful to know that the District has agreed to the following 2015-2016 pay dates:
- First paycheck next year…………………September 4, 2015 (moved up from Sept. 11th)
- Next paychecks next year……………….September 11th and every 2 weeks thereafter
- Final paychecks next year………………four (4) checks on June 10, 2016 and (1) more on June 24th
** Every Teacher will receive 26 equal paychecks as always
- First paycheck next year (for most SRP).………….September 11, 2015
- Next paychecks next year…………………………..September 25th and every 2 weeks thereafter