Bus Drivers still without contract; SEA reps plan for action
The overwhelming majority of our students' bus drivers, members of Teamsters 174 and employees of the mega-corporation First Student (profits in 2016: $6 BILLION), work without health insurance and without any retirement benefits.
Their one day strike in December sent a message to First Student that they will not give in. First Student's contract with Seattle Public Schools included additional funds to support better compensation and benefits, but First Student is claiming it isn't enough.
"First Student wants the school district to pull money from classrooms rather than cut into their own profits to be a responsible employer," said
Phyllis Campano, SEA president.
The Teamsters are back in negotiations. SEA's Representative Assembly laid plans last month in the event of an open duration strike by the Teamsters, including joining the Teamsters for picketing following the end of school on an early release Wednesday. Pending discussions with the Teamsters, SEA members will be asked to vote on such an action in January.
If First Student fails to complete a bus run, the District can collect fines from them of as much as $1 million per day.
"If we call a strike in solidarity with the bus drivers that closes schools, the District won't be able to fine First Student that day," said
Campano. "That's why we are considering an action during early release time that will focus our community on First Student and their treatment of drivers."
Time before school restored for elementary teachers!
After negotiations over the length of the student day figured so prominently in our last
bargaining, elementary teachers were understandably alarmed when District administrators recommended that all elementary school teachers pick up their kids 5 minutes before the bell.
When this happened at John Rogers Elementary last year, staff filed a grievance, and more staff around the District raised the concern as it spread to other schools this year.
"We need every minute we have before school to make copies, talk with parents, and do our final prep for the day," said
Dan Jordan, teacher at Olympic View Elementary. "And the kids who eat breakfast at school need every minute, too."
Shortly before the Rogers grievance was scheduled for arbitration, District administrators agreed to pay the Rogers staff for the additional time last year, and to direct all schools who had adopted the practice to reverse course.
"The length of the student day and the time we have to prep were a huge part of our bargaining last time," said
Michael Tamayo, SEA vice president. "So it was important leading into this year's bargaining that the District acknowledge that without having to go to arbitration."
Implicit Bias Training incorporated into Hiring Team Trainings
SEA members continue to tackle complex problems surrounding race and equity issues. It is a struggle that requires a steady conversation and courage to challenge standard practices that may exclude and disenfranchise.
Tommy Rose, 2nd grade teacher, at John Hay Elementary
, and Rina Paul, SEA UniServ Director, have worked closely with Leslyn Jones and the Human Resources Department to embed training around the role that implicit bias plays in the interview process. Teams of members who now go through Hiring Training receive the opportunity to engage in a larger discussion around tackling implicit bias at their work sites while interviewing and hiring educators.
What is Implicit Bias?
Unconscious positive or negative beliefs/attitudes, negative associations that people unknowingly hold towards racial, socioeconomic and/or gender groups.
How might it impact hiring at our work sites?
Implicit bias is our fundamental way of encountering the world driven by this "hardwired" pattern of making unconscious decisions about others based on what feels safe and familiar. We believe that without facing or acknowledging the role that implicit bias may play in interview teams, our goals of inclusive community building and increasing diversity for our students will not become a reality.
How can I help?
- Ask questions at your work site, such as, How do we tackle implicit bias in our interview teams? What are the values we hold at our work site and do we welcome diversity of opinion and thought to uphold them?
- Engage with others by having conversations around the role that implicit bias may have in our interactions with colleagues, our students, and the community.
Welcome Vallerie Fisher as SEA's new treasurer!
Your Association Representatives voted in November for
to serve as SEA's treasurer for the remaining six months of the
vacated term. Vallerie is a Family Support Worker at
Martin Luther King Jr Elementary and is also treasurer for SEA's Paraprofessional Department.
Continue your union membership after retirement!
Did you know that you can ensure that your membership in the WEA/NEA will not lapse by becoming a Pre-Retired member of the WEA-Retired? You can become a lifetime member of the WEA-R for $450 or by making 10 payments of $45. After retirement, you can become an annual member for $78 or with $7.50 monthly deductions from your DRS pension. By maintaining union membership, you will have access to NEA member benefits (discounts, legal advice, etc.) and receive updates from WEA-R about education and pension issues. For applications and information visit the WEA-Retired homepage
WEA-Retired is offering up to eight $1,000 nonrenewable scholarships to aid WEA members in enhancing skills in specific education areas and/or attaining or maintaining a teaching certificate. The scholarships cannot be used to pay for incurred debt for past classes or reimbursement for pre-paid classes. You must be a WEA member to apply. Applications must be received by April 6, 2018. For applications, click
Scholarship Opportunity to Become a Bilingual Educator
The Bilingual Educator Capacity (BECA) Program at the University of Washington in Seattle has scholarship funding to provide 50% of tuition and fees. For more information, contact Renee Shank at
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SICK LEAVE REQUESTS
Jeanne Gleason, 2nd grade teacher at Thornton Creek Elementary recently suffered a head injury and thought she had enough sick leave, but her doctor just pushed her return-to-work day out 6 more weeks. She thanks you for your help with any sick leave you can donate.
Evelyn Quiambao, assistant in Head Start at Roxhill Elementary had an accident at another SPS school back in May, 2016. She was just back to work in Oct but to avoid 2 children in a busy classroom fell on her knees, causing her to be out longer. She's run out of sick leave at this point and appreciates any you could donate to help cover the shortage.
Katie Wallace, teacher at Rainier Beach HS has been out for an extended medical issue and is in need of more sick leave. She thanks you in advance for any you can donate to her.
Byron "Chris" Names, High School CTE teacher at Seattle Skills Center was recently in the hospital with a combination of very serious infections and has exhausted his sick leave but needs more to cover his extended treatments. He appreciates very much any help you can give.
Melissa Robinson, a special ed IA at Salmon Bay K-8, recently fell down some concrete stairs and has been placed in a cast for 6 weeks and the soonest the doctor will clear her for work is January 24. This is far past the amount she has available to cover the time, so is asking for any donated sick leave you can give. She is most appreciative of your generosity.
Len Hill, teacher at Hawthorne Elementary recently underwent a kidney transplant and has run out of sick leave. Any amount you could donate will be very much appreciated.
Carrie Schwochow, teacher at Madrona K-8 recently had a bad fall down a long staircase and is going to out of work longer than the amount of sick leave she has and is thankful her fellow educators are willing to donate some of their sick leave to help out. Many thanks!
Gwen Murray, Access SpEd Teacher suffers from a rare genetic immune deficiency which causes swelling in various parts of her body and unfortunately the frequency of attacks has been high lately due to loss of work has caused a complete depletion of her sick leave. It is with humility & gratitude that she solicits your assistance.
Thank you all for your generous donations in this challenging time for the above members.
Members can access the shared leave form to donate hours by clicking
. Forms can be submitted to
or FAXED to 206-252-0021 or mailed to Seattle Public Schools, MS 33-380, PO Box 34165, Seattle, WA 98124-1165.