California Educator

February / March 2018

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CTA members drive a hard bargain — for students, and for you By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman Has your district put a cap on class size? Has it changed to a fairer evaluation system or improved safety conditions? Have you received a raise in the last few years? Has your chapter fought district efforts to cut health care or essential positions such as librarians and nurses? Unsung Heroes educators the means to protect their profession and their compensation. Once an agreement is reached, it must be ratified by a majority of the chapter's members, and then by the school board. When the contract expires, the pro- cess begins again. (Teachers can strike only if a state mediator is unable to break a bargaining impasse and a nonbinding report from a neutral fact-finder fails to resolve the crisis.) Meet some of the unsung heroes who serve on CTA chapter bargaining teams. I F S O , thank your chapter's bargaining team members, who work behind the scenes in ways that profoundly impact students and CTA members. They spend long hours at the bargaining table with district leaders, sometimes pulling all-nighters and negotiating until they're blue in the face. And they do it for free, to help ensure that students receive a quality education, and to improve the benefits and working conditions of colleagues. W h en edu cators are p ai d a d equ at ely, it h elps ret ain high-quality teachers. When districts provide educators with good health care, they are better able to serve the needs of stu- dents. And those on the bargaining team make that happen. CTA has more than 1,000 chapters statewide. Educators in each chap- ter negotiate a contract that covers all members of the bargaining unit, including teachers, librarians, nurses, speech pathologists, counselors and other certificated staff. While a few chapters include both certified and classified staff, there are ESP chapters that support paraeducators, bus drivers, janitors, cafeteria workers, administrative assistants, health aides, library technicians and more. Collective bargaining levels the playing field — educators sit down as equals with administrators, and both sides start the process with initial proposals. Even in tough times, the bargaining process allows 59 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 018 C

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