Learn about collective bargaining

Perhaps the greatest areas where you can exercise the power of standing united is in your own local bargain. Collective bargaining is your opportunity to have an equal voice in wages, hours and working conditions - offering the chance to make significant improvements to your classroom and work environment. Educators and education support professionals (ESPs) have a vital voice that must be heard in shaping our schools and colleges. After all, a teacher's working conditions are a student's learning conditions.

Bargaining gains

Collective bargaining is responsible for a wide range of improvements. Here are some gains that many locals have won through bargaining:

  • Strong non-discrimination rights
  • Paid leaves including sick leave, emergency leave, personal leave, child birth and many others
  • Defined evaluation procedures and criteria
  • Class size guidelines including consideration of special needs students
  • Specific work days and hours
  • Safety provisions to protect staff and students
  • Academic freedom
  • Additional pay for extra time and responsibilities
  • Fair grievance procedures
  • "Just cause" provisions protecting teachers from being unfairly disciplined
  • Fair layoff and recall provisions
  • Inservice training opportunities
  • Job posting and transfer rights
  • Prohibition against assigning teachers non-teaching duties
  • Fringe benefits including medical, dental, vision, life and long-term disability insurances and more

WEA Bargaining Goals for 2018-19

Our ability to negotiate with our employers, the school districts where we work, is a fundamental union right – and also a platform for WEA members to unite in support of the things we value, including salaries, benefits and learning and working conditions. When members are united, we are able to achieve great results for ourselves and our students.

Our members have fought long and hard in the McCleary case to secure ample funding of public education so that all students have access to a high quality public education. This year, the legislature, in response to our work and the state Supreme Court's directive, added $1 billion to the budget, intended to be used for salaries for certificated and classified staff. This is on top of the $1 billion dedicated for pay in last year's budget.

For the past several years, the WEA Board of Directors has established statewide bargaining goals that local associations should strive to achieve with and on behalf of their members.

This year, the Board has set new statewide bargaining goals to reflect the progress made in McCleary. A summary is below:

  • Each local should strive to achieve a minimum 15% increase in total compensation in 2018-19.  Locals with lower current salaries should set a higher goal.
  • Locals representing certificated staff should meet the 2010 WEA policy goal of $52,500 to $105,000, adjusted annually. That equals a range of $61,500 to $123,000 for 2018-19.
  • Locals representing Education Support Professionals should set a minimum goal of a 36.7% increase, so that all ESP members are paid competitive professional wages based on their profession.  
  • Bargaining agreements meet the needs of students and staff.  Individually-directed collaboration and planning time, to develop plans to meet the individual needs of each and every student is required for success.  Local associations should implement new contracts to meet professional level compensation levels recognizing all the work that members already perform outside the work day and work year, and protect or increase self-directed planning time.

These are big goals, and we know we can get there. With a united membership behind each local, we have the power to achieve the results you and your students deserve: the ability to keep and attract great educators in our schools.

If you have questions about the goals, please contact your local president, UniServ staff or council president.

Training programs and bargaining support

Bargaining image

Collective bargaining requires special abilities and skills. But you have the support of your union behind you. Tap into WEA trainings for basic and advanced strategies to use at the bargaining table. Individual locals and regional councils have access to WEA's highly trained bargaining experts.

Training programs include:

Know your rights

  • You have the right to union representation during investigatory interviews. Contact your local and UniServ representative immediately if you are being investigated.
  • As a WEA member you are eligible for Educator Employee Liability insurance.
  • The WEA also provides members some discounted legal rates via the Attorney Referral Program.
  • You're entitled to view your local contract, most districts post these on their websites.
  • Understand the grievance process and what to do when a district violates your contract.