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Salary Hikes and Saving Cafeteria Jobs

Teachers and paraprofessionals with the Williamstown Education Association in Massachusetts are working under new contracts. The teachers’ three-year contract provides a 2.5-percent salary increase this school year and a 3-percent raise in 2010-11, but they must now pay 5 percent more for health insurance premiums. As for the paraprofessionals, at press time, contract negotiations with custodians were at an impasse over a clause that would protect custodians from disciplinary action or job termination without good reason. Custodians have been working without a contract since August 2008. Meanwhile, the Johnsonburg Education Support Professionals Association of Pennsylvania defeated the school board’s threat to subcontract cafeteria workers. A new contract will preserve the jobs of 11 cafeteria workers over the next two years. “You can imagine how shocked we were when we first sat down to negotiate and were faced with the school district's proposal to outsource the cafeteria workers,” says Beth Thorwart, a bargaining team member who was serving as president when negotiations started in January 2008.

Membership Strategy

Reaching Potential and Former Members

After experiencing a membership dip to 46 percent, members of the Johnson County Education Association (JCEA) in Tennessee were challenged by the school board with their contract's termination. In response, JCEA mobilized their forces by organizing new-teacher social events, publishing a newsletter, stressing the protections offered by the contract, and reaching out to former members, says Garry Ferry, a bargaining team member. The result was a 10-percent membership gain. “We went back to former members and asked why they had dropped, [then] we went through the logical reasons for them to rejoin,” he says.  Many were unaware of contract benefits, such as a third personal day, Ferry says.

In Alabama, the Baldwin County Board of Education approved a retirement and transfer incentive plan despite concerns by the Alabama Education Association that it does not include bus drivers or part-time employees. The good news: The plan would award a one-time payment of $20,000 for teachers with 25 years of service, or $15,000 for those over age 60 with 10 years of experience. Other education support professionals—but not bus drivers—could receive a one-time payment of $10,000 with 25 years of experience, or $5,000 if over age 60 with 10 years of experience. The bad news: Under the plan, a retiring driver's route could be merged with another driver’s, which would eliminate the need to hire a replacement.

Anti-worker Campaign

Free Choice Act Targeted in 18 States

Passage of the federal Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is being threatened by a group known as Save Our Secret Ballot (SOS Ballot). The group is targeting 18 states for constitutional amendments that would prevent workers from forming unions through a majority sign-up process. The National Education

Association and other labor groups are coordinating national and state-level responses. Voters would decide the initiatives and referenda in the 2010

general election. SOS Ballot has announced plans for state constitutional amendments through citizen initiatives in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, and Ohio. Other states targeted for amendments through legislative referral to voters include Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.


Report Card
We check out who’s making the grade—or needs improvement—in education around the country.


Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski
He suggested that public school employees should “share in the sacrifice” and work for free to help address the budget crisis. This, after public schools absorbed $62 million in cuts in January.


Forsyth County Schools
This district in Cumming, Georgia, is set up to save $1.1 million over three years by choosing to use free open-source software instead of purchasing expensive software licenses from vendors.


Former Dixie Elementary School Principal Adrian Sanford
He was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing more than $69,000 in school funds. The Ken-tucky principal also pleaded guilty to fraudulent use of a credit card, and agreed to testify against the school’s former bookkeeper.


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  • anc_dyn_linksOctober | November 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksAugust | September 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksMay 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksMarch | April 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksJanuary | February 2009