Local Bargaining Matters

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With the new school year, we have new contracts in place and in many cases, great results for our members. All over the state, bargaining teams went to the table with their sights held high, seeking a range of improvements for their members and their students. In all, 145 contracts were open this year. 

Given the state’s poor record over the years, local bargaining remains our best tool to address pay. Flexing our bargaining muscles keep them strong, and better contracts always result. 

Many locals worked to achieve the statewide bargaining goal of 5 percent over the state COLA. Many also negotiated for districts to increase support for rising health care costs, with many achieving 100 percent funding. 

Here are a few success stories.  This list isn’t complete – if you don’t see your local, check in with your building rep or local president to learn what’s in your contract. 

Bethel EA – This local worked closely with members in the year prior to bargaining to identify their needs. After long and intense negotiations, BEA secured a 5 percent raise (over the state COLA) the first year, 5 percent again in the second year and just over 3 percent in the third year of their contract. 

Everyone received an addition personal leave day. Secondary counselors, psychologists, librarians and nurses all received more supplemental days. Academic freedom and site-based decision-making language was strengthened and TRI self-directed days will be considered deemed done.

“I’ve bargained many times over the years,” BEA President Bryan Grassi says. “This year, we had intense negotiations which were painstakingly slow but our persistence and strong support from our members paid off for both our students and our members.”

Evergreen EA — More than a year of local organizing led EEA members to push for new curricula, better pay for substitutes, more support for special-ed students and additional counselors. Under the terms of the deal, EEA members will see $1 million for new curriculum, local salary increases of 4.5 percent, 5 percent and 5 percent in the three-year contract, plus new money to help with rising insurance costs, added pay for meetings that run long, improved pay for nurses and psychs, plus caseload relief for specialists, and improved stipends for SpEd and co-curricular teachers.

EEA President Rob Lutz noted that he’s happy the difficult negotiation is over and that everyone will be back to school. “When you have the weight of the needs of 1,800 members and 27,000 students on your shoulders, it feels good to be able to take that off.” 

Northshore EA – For the first time, NSEA bargained both certificated and ESP contracts at the table. Contract highlights include provisions for safer schools for students and staff, more opportunities for full-time ESP positions and increased support specifically for music, PE, libraries and special education. This contract provides significantly more time for educators, fewer meetings, less paperwork and fewer unnecessary assessments so Northshore educators can focus on teaching students. Over the course of the four-year contract, ESPs will see an astounding 19.3 percent pay increase, plus COLA. Certs will earn an additional 10 percent plus COLA over three years.

NSEA President Tim Britell said, "We are incredibly proud of our members who turned out by the hundreds to support our joint ESP and Certificated bargaining team. Our ESP bargainers are some of the most courageous women that I have ever had the honor to represent. Together, We Educate Northshore!"

University Place Office Professionals – UPOP made significant strides on the living wage front. The office professionals negotiated a $3.15 per hour increase in starting pay to $16.46 an hour, and step increases that go up from there. Across the unit, members will average about a 16 percent increase in three years. Veteran office workers with over 21 years on the job will also see extra paid vacation days. 

“There are several things I’m very proud of in regards to the impact this contract will have on our members,” says UPOP Co-president Melody Vinson. 

Here are some other locals that achieved the state goal of five percent. In addition to the salary information, each of these locals negotiated 100 percent of health care costs. 

Burlington-Edison EA negotiated 5.9 percent for this second year of their agreement. 
Columbia EA in Walla Walla negotiated a 7.2 percent increase over the state COLA for this year.  
Coupeville EA negotiated 5.4 percent for this second year of their agreement.
Darrington EA secured a 12 percent increase over two years, above state COLA.  
Franklin Pierce EA negotiated pay increases of 4.2 percent and 6.percent.  
Kennewick EA  will receive percent over the state COLA in the first year. 
Oak Harbor EA negotiated 7.6 percent and 4.5 percent in 2017-18.   
Olympia Educational Administrative Professionals Association and Olympia Technology Professional Association met the 5 percent bargaining goal. 
Renton ESP exceeded the bargaining goal for a portion of the salary schedule. 
South Kitsap EA negotiated 10.3 percent and 3 percent. 

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