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Preuss Bargaining Update November 2019



Since the last update (Sept. 6th) we have had the following bargaining dates on the books:

  • October 4th: ½ Day of bargaining:  We reviewed our new comprehensive proposal. The university was only able to provide a portion of their counter. They committed to providing a full counter over the phone to include special ed and leaves related issues. 
  • October 28th: University failed to uphold the plan for a phone meeting to review their full counter proposal with our team. The meeting was scheduled to help move things along at a more efficient pace. The university cancelled this meeting. 
  • October 30th: ½ Day of bargaining:  The university proposed their incomplete counter offer. They failed to include the promised articles related to leaves and special ed. Our team agreed that they should have respectfully offered to meet with us over the phone to review the proposal and help preserve our limited release time. The university proposed no increase to the current salary schedule stating that they believed it represented fair market value.  
  • November 1st: Preuss UC-AFT cancelled this full day session due to the following concerns: The university has continuously failed to uphold their promises for a complete proposal and it is evident they have not given appropriate time to crafting a comprehensive response for our contract. With only 1 day of release time left to put our Preuss folks at the bargaining table, we cannot meet if it is unreasonable to believe the University is prepared and able to use the time effectively.


The university has verbally committed to include some language to define the Special Ed workload and updates on leave policies. They have proposed some language about discipline and dismissal that was not previously included in the contract. These are considered “wins” as we inch closer to the end result we need. Another big internal win has been the increased solidarity, responsiveness, and action within our own membership. Our biggest strength is our numbers and our unity - your support gives us our muscle!


The university continues to offer no adjustments to the salary scale.

  • This means that our current scale would remain in place and unchanged for the next 5 years or so with no adjustments for cost of living/inflation for that entire time. Thus, the value of our salary would be decreasing over time because our pay would not be keeping pace with inflation. This also means that those teachers who were at the top of the salary scale the last time we negotiated will not have seen a salary increase for at least SEVEN (7) years.  Despite asking, no details were given on what districts were used for comparison nor whether or not the comparison district(s) scales were prorated for our longer year.  

The university is not hearing us on professional autonomy over our lunch and prep blocks. They continue to include a clause that states unit members, “Must remain on the worksite for the full day” - with the full day defined as 4 blocks.

  • This means that unit members would no longer be able to run quick errands, go to the doctor, leave early/arrive late for child care/transportation needs (for those who have first or last-of-the-day prep blocks), or even go for a walk off of the Preuss campus during lunch without permission. This eliminates important flexibility for our unit members who often work long hours at night/on weekends and may need the option, at times, to get other things done during the day (or to walk off some work related stress on our lunch breaks). This clause also applies to work-related errands, which would ALL have to be approved through admin in advance. This is particularly concerning in light of the fact that our administration is changing and may not be willing to fairly and equitably approve such requests. This clause is counter to current administration’s emphasis on teacher self-care.

The university is not hearing us on our interest in job security. They continue to propose a key change in language related to unit members who are in year 6 of their employment and have earned a “Meets Standards” on their evaluation -- from “shall receive a 2-year rolling contract” to “may receive a 2-year rolling contract.” Thus, eliminating their obligation to re-appoint those who have earned 2-year contracts. This undermines the job security that we were able to achieve in our current contract.  

The university is not making efficient use of our limited release time for bargaining and they refuse to offer an extension of release time despite moving very little on key issues. 

  • As noted in the overview, on multiple occasions the university has failed to uphold promises related to comprehensive proposals. After 3.5 proposals passed, they have not budged on many of our most critical issues. Much of our release time is wasted waiting on them to produce a comprehensive proposal. We are down to only 1 more day of release time before we are forced into after school bargaining hours while still working full days. This tactic of wearing us down was something they employed during the last bargaining cycle. We are going to be vigilant about setting boundaries around bargaining times.

Next Steps:  

The university is now putting pressure on us to “wrap things up.” They are claiming that they want to be done bargaining by January 10th. With the looming deadline of January 31st for when we are officially out of contract, it is in their best interest to start making meaningful moves. Our team remains skeptical that they will be able to offer a proposal that we feel comfortable bringing to our membership as they’ve shown very little interest in compromise on key issues. If all goes as planned the next sessions are as follows:

December 2nd: After school phone call to hear their proposed Special Ed Article. 

January 9th: After school bargaining session from 4:30 - 7:30 pm. We need you to pack the room for this session - come directly to the bargaining room after school! This is a key session and we need our entire membership to be there to hear and see how things are going down. They claim to be motivated to wrap up on the 10th - let’s hold them to it and show them our unity! We need them to speak to the entire unit as they rationalize their proposals (or lack thereof).

January 10th: Another bargaining day. We have tentatively agreed to a full day of bargaininging, with the caveat that we will call it at a ½ day if their team is delaying or unprepared. We need to preserve our precious final few hours of release time! You will need to be on call and alert on this day. We will likely be reaching out as things heat up over critical issues and they put pressure on us to finalize. 

Additional actions: 

Continue to show solidarity for #SeaOfBlue Fridays! Union shirts every Friday throughout bargaining!

Be in touch with your team leader. Some team members have not provided cell phone numbers to their lead point person - please do so to help ensure all communication is getting to the folks who need it. 

Be ready to give input and feel free to ask questions. We may come to you for anecdotes or data to back up our proposal. We are also committed to keeping you informed.