Alameda Teachers Reject Agreement

Teachers voted on the tentative agreement Thursday and through 4:30 p.m Friday.

Alameda Unified School District teachers voted overwhelmingly to reject a tentative contract agreement, the Alameda Education Association (AEA) announced Friday afternoon.

The AEA said in a press release that teachers turned down the agreement by a two-to-one margin during voting on Thursday and through 4:30 p.m. Friday.

The rejected agreement covered the current and 2012-13 academic years. It included:

  • A 1.5 percent salary increase for 2012-13, contingent on adequate state funding.
  •  A 1 percent, one-time bonus for teachers that ranged between $398 and $799, depending on the teacher’s years of experience."
  • Increased K-3 class sizes in the event of a severe fiscal emergency, and changes to high school class sizes.
  • "Finally, the parties have reached agreement on collaboration, academic freedom, calendar issues, transfer issues related to magnets and innovative programs and complaints against unit members. In exchange for the Association's agreement to a one-year pilot on collaboration, the District has agreed to maintain the current salary schedule which includes 3 days of professional development, while requiring teachers to work only 2 professional development days," according to the AUSD. Collaboration is a pilot program for the coming year that equals 45 minutes per week for each teacher.

"The district’s miniscule temporary compensation offer was not sufficient to warrant the permanent concessions they demanded," the AEA release said.

The complete tenatative agreement is attached above as a PDF.

“At some point AUSD will have to make teachers a priority and stop presuming that we will be able to continually sacrifice,” said Gray Harris, president of the 524-member AEA.

"AEA is ready to continue through the fact-finding process and will be prepared for whatever it brings."

The release said that "While both sides hope to get back to the bargaining table, leaders of AEA will now explore all options."

The AUSD announced a week ago that negotiating teams representing the district and the AEA reached the tentative agreement after four sessions with an outside mediator.

Negotiations began in early 2011, when the district asked the AEA to revisit the existing agreement on class size and transfers. (The transfer issue was subsequently dropped.)

The talks stalled in November when the district and the teachers' union were unable to reach an agreement on class size maximums for the 2012-13 school year, according to a statement from the district.

Mediation between the district and the AEA with a state-appointed mediator began in December 2011. For a look at the background of the negotiations, see this article.

Helen Wu April 02, 2012 at 02:56 AM
This is ridiculous. If you compare the Tentative Agreement to the existing agreement, ALL complaints (anonymous and otherwise) went through the complaint resolution process. Under tentative agreement, if a complaint is anonymous and not significant, it does NOT go through the complaint resolution process. In other words, the Tentative Agreement gives the teachers MORE protection that the existing agreement. It's pretty obvious from these comments that a lot of AEA members either misunderstand or were misinformed about some of the terms of the contract. I wonder if after they get the facts, they might want to revote and accept the TA?
Helen Wu April 02, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Typing too fast. The second sentence should say "ALL complaints (anonymous and otherwise) under the existing agreement go through the complaint resolution process."
a94501er April 02, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Can somebody explain why we're going through all this angst? Wasn't Measure A supposed to fix this? Or was it just designed so the Superintendent gets her raise/bonus/etc, while the others go pound sand?
Thomas Shepard April 02, 2012 at 10:05 PM
This is my first year teaching in Alameda, but my 6th overall and this is my 3rd different district. I chose to work in Alameda despite the pay cut (over $1000 a month) because I am a now own a house and have a family here. I wanted to give something back to the community that has been so welcoming to me. I have regretted that decision since this school year started. There is always some tension between the district office and teachers, that's normal, but I have never encountered such direct hostility from a district before. Part of it has to do with the superintendent and the outright lies mind games she plays with the teachers and the community, but it's deeper than that. For example, a while ago I went to HR to get some help filling out forms for medical insurance. I was told by my HR rep, "fill them out yourself". And there are a lot more examples. So when I see posts here from people saying that they see no hostile statements in the contract that was offered, of course there isn't. But you also have to see that every point is worded so that to power can be handed over to the superintendent under vague circumstances, and after so many years of hostility there is no way the teachers can trust that that will not happen. It would be nice to make more money, no teacher is going to deny that, but it would be nicer to feel like I didn't have to go to work looking over my shoulder all the time. We are just trying to take care of your kids.
Thomas Shepard April 02, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Sorry about all the typos by the way, I'm trying to do this on a Kindle Fire.
dave April 02, 2012 at 10:31 PM
If a student wrote an essay declaring grand hostility & a plot to grab absolute power, but offered up "filling out your own forms" as the only specific evidence, how would a teacher evaluate the student's work?
dave April 02, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Also, would you mind citing an "outright lie" that the superintendent has told? That's a serious statement to make about a person with evidence or support.
Mark Irons April 02, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I don't think we need to feel that Ms. Vital is over paid to have legitimate issues with the process and context of the raise. Ms. Vital went after the raise early, in August before her contract was up, and BEFORE school started in September so that there would far less organized opposition by teachers. The school board didn't simply approve it, they all but rubber stamped it and because of the timing they did so before there could be a really thorough community discussion. The real evidence of that is the amount of debate which has taken place since. Legal notice periods aside, the timing set the stage poorly and was followed by Vital taking a hard line with teachers on their salary as well as making class size permanent. The $15K bonus was salt in that wound, in part because in order for Vital to get the bonus teachers had to do the actual work to meet the goals set for that bonus. Part of the definition of good management is about attitude and the ability to deal with personnel. A really good all around manager is valuable. An autocrat, not as much. This rejected offer included average $650 one time bonus. Annual increase in health care premium for teachers with family is $200 a month. But I still believe teachers who say their no vote was NOT about the money.
Thomas Shepard April 03, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Sorry Dave, didn't realize I was filling out an essay. Next time I will try to rise to your standards. The point is, it is their job to help we with this stuff and I don't think it is unreasonable to expect6 a little assistance. I could also re fence the time I called with a question, left a message and didn't receive an answer. Then when I called back, asking why I didn't get a call back, I was told "I forgot". Or when I had to take a day off because my toddler spent the night puking and I was told to find my own sub. I realize when you live inn a world informed by Fox News, you don't want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I didn't have space to give all the examples I have. Also, I've only worked here for a few months. I will strive for a better Dave grade next time.
dave April 03, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Grandiose claims with little support are not credible.
Thomas Shepard April 03, 2012 at 04:41 PM
I guess I should have been paying attention before I replied to you the first time, dave. You have a lot of posts on this topic. You obviously have an agenda and are not open to discussion. I'm sure I will never be able to produce an argument that will satisy you. Have fun mud-slinging.
dave April 03, 2012 at 05:21 PM
You made some pretty bold statements, including character assassination, and backed them with nothing. If I have any "agenda" at all, it's clarity & facts. That's why I have been asking -- repeatedly -- for facts to clarify the very bold claims made by you and others. If it's credibility you seek (and why else would you post here?) you ought to consider backing up your claims with a shred of evidence. Do you have any?
dave April 03, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Still waiting.
alapeeps April 03, 2012 at 06:32 PM
The short response to this is that Measure A maintained the status quo (no school closures, etc). The 1 to 1/5 % raise of this agreement only covers what was lost last year due to furlough days (if that). These contract negotiations don't really have anything to do with Measure A (other than the District has to make it's budget work). Much of the discontent is over non monetary items in the agreement. Personally I think a 1% guaranteed raise (not bonus) is not too much to ask.
alapeeps April 03, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Try asking a teacher directly, in person, face to face. I'm sure, if they feel like they won't be attacked, that you will get their honest opinion. As a teacher I would keep my mouth shut on an open forum.
Thomas Shepard April 03, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Okay, I promised I was done with this, but here goes. Earlier this year a Million dollars was found in the budget. Teachers and the public were told the money would go toward text books and after school tutoring programs for the neediest students. This hasn't happened. The public was told that teachers refused to participate in open house. We didn't refuse, we just wanted our contract honored, which stated that there would be no open house. The superintendent only brought it up knowing we would get upset, then she can cancel it and say it was our fault. I'm sure these are not good enough for you, but like I said, this is my first year here. I'm sure someone who's been here longer would have more examples. Now I'm done.
G. Cobre April 03, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Dave, Are by any chance the David Hart that is on the Measure A oversight committee?
dave April 03, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Yes, that money or at least a portion, was intended to be spent on textbooks as you say. If it wasn't, that is very much worth investigating. But that doesn't qualify as "an outright lie," not yet anyway. As for open house, the district stated that the union refused to allow even a voluntary open house and that was a true statement. The original cancellation of the open house was a quid-pro-quo for furlough days. When the furlough days were restored, it was reasonable to ask that open house be restored also. Not required, not a must, just a reasonable request. The union could have won some easy goodwill points by permitting a voluntary open house but instead chose to forbid even that. The union's refusal to do so was within its rights, though most would say it was needlessly churlish. The district did not lie about that. Thanks for making the effort to qualify your statements, you are the first here to really try. I ask you though, are these two things (one a very dim maybe and the other a non-lie) sufficient reason to tank an agreement struck by the AEA, the district and CTA? Are these the intolerable terms referenced by so many in this thread, the fascist indignity that was railed on? Really?
cturnover April 03, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Just a fact, the cancellation of open house was NOT a quid pro quo for furlough days. I can state this as a fact as I was on the team that bargained the MOU. It was a package deal. Also, furlough days were not 'restored'. The calendar returned to its original length. Restoration implies that I received the 4.5% of my salary that was taken.
Mandy Chang April 03, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Connie: your gross pay, and that of administrators including the Superintendent, was reduced 4.5% on account of the furlough days in 2010-11 as those were days YOU DID NOT WORK. That is the definition of a furlough, as opposed to a pay reduction - where your pay would have been reduced but you'd still have to have worked those days. In 2011-12, thanks to Measure A being passed by the community, AUSD had no furlough days and all salaries were restored to full working year levels. If you think you are owed the 4.5% of salary for the days in 2010-11 you did not work, then no, you are not. Your not the first teacher I've heard make this argument but, as a member of the union's bargaining team, people might hope you'd know better. You do teachers and unions a disservice by making specious claims such as this.
dave April 03, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Package deal, quid pro quo, whatever the terminology they were negotiated together. Furlough was one of the concessions offered by the union; open was one offered by the district. When one was recovered/replaced/restored (whatever term you like, you get the point) the other was asked for.
cturnover April 03, 2012 at 11:57 PM
I hate to repeat myself, however, as you were not there, you have the luxury of interpreting this anyway you wish. I was there and have stuck to the facts. As for the furlough days they were not an offer, they were a demand. And the money was not even needed.
dave April 04, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Whether they were gift wrapped by the union or hacksawed from them, they were a CONCESSION agreed to by the union. Open house was a concession agreed by the district in same document. When the furloughs went away, if that terminology is acceptable to you, the district asked for OH back. This was not an unreasonable request. The union did not have to agree
dave April 04, 2012 at 01:17 AM
The union did not have to agree but scotching a voluntary open house wasn't seen as particularly reasonable by the public
a94501er April 04, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Moral of the story: we were bamboozled into voting for Measure A ... when evidence points to the contrary (only the top AUSD brass got pay hikes). Shame on us for believing "it is all about the children" and the wrath of the pox on you folks for spreading this canard. I'm never again voting for any tax (parcel/sales/whatchammacallit).
Patricia Sanders April 05, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Dave, the request was unreasonable. The AEA and the District had an agreement that included provisions for if the parcel tax PASSED and provisions for if the parcel tax DID NOT PASS by a certain 'trigger date' insisted upon by the District. The parcel tax did not pass by that trigger date. One of the provisions was that both sides would return to the bargaining table which has led to the situation we are in now. When it came time to make our initial proposals public, the AEA "sunshined" that, since the parcel tax passed, we should in essence change the trigger date so that NONE of the provisions of a failed parcel tax would come into play; after all, we had all just come together to create a small miracle and it only made sense to honor the intention of the MOU as if the parcel tax had passed by the trigger date. This would have allowed for open house and it would have meant that we all could have had a well deserved break from bargaining, and it would have honored the bargaining teams' intention for parcel tax passage. The District said, "No" to our proposal and insisted we follow the explicit written language of the MOU which led to the situation we are in now. The District wanted (and did) insist on implementing the concession that we would reopen negotiations early, which was their right. To have one side benefit when the other doesn't isn't reasonable. Reasonable is an option that is fair to both sides. AEA's initial proposal was once such option.
Patricia Sanders April 05, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Oops! Sorry about the typo. That last sentence should have read, "AEA's initial proposal was one such option.
Nadine Cross-Ratto April 06, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Who are you Helen Wu-someone who knows too much info to be just a concerned mom? I think you need to be honest on where you got your info from.
Bill Smith April 13, 2012 at 02:30 AM
I am a current teacher in Alameda. I consistently work 10 hour days because that is what this position requires. I work with an extremely challenging population which at any given time requires me to assume the role of a social worker, psychologist, nurse, and crisis manager. I left my previous career, making a much greater starting salary, because teachers have such a major impact on the lives of children. I teach because it is important. There comes a time we those who teach children self reliance, self respect, tolerance and justice, must make a stand for those same virtues. I voted no on the bargaining agreement because, in spite of what has been presented, District representatives made no substantial concessions. I hope for a rapid end to this unnecessary distraction.
Alameda Resident April 13, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Tom, are you actually incapable of filling out an insurance form by yourself? Where's your respect for the HR rep? Do you really think it's THEIR job to complete a form with your personal information and choices? They have their own work to do, without doing yours too. They should answer specific questions if you have them, but they are not supposed to fill out forms for you.


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