California Educator

February 2013

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Teamwork by Evergreen TA and Mt. Pleasant EA members (l-r): Rachel McCauley (MPEA), Cindy Morici (MPEA), Janette Perla (ETA). Photo by Lisa Kattenhorn. Solidarity works San Jose area teachers team up in contract fights BY MIKE MYSLINSKI Collaboration works in the classroom and on the picket lines, educators in two adjacent San Jose school districts are learning as they help each other organize to win difficult contract fights. They faced furlough days, health benefit cuts, the loss of teacher prep time ��� and the same divisive lawyer at their bargaining tables hired by both districts to fast-track their agendas. ���Thankfully, we are not in this fight alone,��� says fourth-grade teacher Lisa Kattenhorn, president of the 136-member Mt. Pleasant Education Association (MPEA). In recent months, MPEA members and their neighbors in the 585-member Ever- Details Follow these stories and get bargaining updates at green Teachers Association (ETA) held numerous joint protest rallies at school board meetings and community marches after school. After a hugely successful Jan. 16 joint protest, the Evergreen School District backed down from some of its worst proposals, says ETA President Brian Wheatley. Despite Evergreen having budget reserves of about $20 million, Wheatley says, the district demanded that teachers pay more out of pocket for health benefits by mandating a ���hard cap��� on costs that would freeze the district���s contributions at the 2011-12 levels. With the good news that ETA and MPEA were going back into negotiations at press time in late January, members were hopeful for progress and were glad to see the public demonstrations had made a difference. ���This has fundamentally reinforced to my members why you need to belong to a union,��� says Wheatley, an elementary teacher. ���My district has made significant movement. Things got better.��� Also standing side by side with Mt. Pleasant and Evergreen teachers at recent rallies were educators from four other nearby districts ��� Alum Rock, Franklin-McKinley, Berryessa and East Side Union High School District. bargainingupdates 38 California Educator February 2013 Educator 02 Feb 2013 v2.9.indd 38 2/7/13 11:26 AM

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