Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MEA Budget Bit #9

2009 #9 Information Technology

The Information Technology (IT) Department accounts for $2,336,412 or 3.07% of MEA’s budget. The department staff includes two supervisors and four support staff.

The role of the IT department is to provide leader internet services, including training assistance to members and locals that wish to set up their own web pages. MEA’s internet and secure intranet services are provided by IT, as is making sure our computers and software are up-to-date and functional.

The programmer-analysts in the department create and design many internal resources for staff, leaders and members. They also work with the Finance/Membership Department in making the best use of the Avectra Membership system.

Some of the IT staff provide training for MEA staff ; you will also see some of them at MEA conferences providing training to members on publishing newsletters and using Microsoft Word, Excel and Publisher.

Peggy McLellan
Michigan Education Association
(800) 292-1934 x 5500

MEA Budget Bit #8

2009 #8 Uniserv/Field Services

The Uniserv/Field Services Department accounts for $4,824,574 or 7.66% of the 2009-2010 MEA Budget. Its headquarters personnel include one director, one administrative assistant, eight professional staff and five support staff.

The Field Services department manages all UniServ (zones), Professional Development/Human Rights, as well as services to Higher Ed and ESP members. It includes funding for the Supplemental Negotiations Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides temporary staff for bargaining and financial analysis to the locals.

The Minority and Women’s Intern Program, coordinating council subsidies, and Student MEA are all funded and coordinated through Field Services, as are the Bargaining/Political Action/ Public Relations Conference, ESP Conference and Higher Ed Bargaining Conference.
The Field Services department provides research and negotiations support to UniServ field staff and local leaders. In addition, all of MEA’s organizing efforts are coordinated in this department. All NEA grants are administered in Field Services as well.

Direct service to members is provided by the Field Services division through the four zones. The zones account for over half of MEA’s budget.

The Central Zone comprises all or parts of Regions 8, 10, 11 and 12. It accounts for $9,544,016 or 12.55% of the 2009-2010 MEA Budget. Its staff includes one zone director, 27 UniServ directors and 19 support staff.

The Eastern Zone is made up of all or parts of Regions 2, 6 and 7. It accounts for $11,981,454 or 15.76% of budget. The staff includes one zone director, 34 UniServ directors and 24 support staff.

The Northern Zone includes all or parts of regions 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18. It accounts for $7,555,905 or 9.94% of MEA’s budget. Its staff includes one zone director, 21 UniServ directors and 15 support staff.

The Southern Zone is made up of to all or parts of regions 3, 4, 5 and 9. It accounts for $11,832,717 or 15.56% of the total budget. Its staff includes one zone director, 36 UniServ directors and 21 support staff.

Peggy McLellan
Michigan Education Association
(800) 292-1934 x 5500

Saturday, May 23, 2009

MEA Recommended Bargaining Goals

MEA Recommended Bargaining Goals for MEA Locals Bargaining between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010

Every contract should include as the highest priorities:

Sustained Growth in Compensation:

  • Extra pay for extra work
  • Comparable pay for work for comparable value
  • Sufficient salary/wage improvement to prevent loss in employee spending power for all EA, ESP, and Higher Education locals
  • Timely progress toward “40-80 in 10” for teachers. At least $40,000 starting teacher salary and at least $80,000 salary at the 10th step or less of the MA column. Fair and equitable increases that are timely and will increase the quality of life for ESP members
  • ESP benefits: same fully paid fringe benefit package as EA unit
  • Definition of per diem pay, the work day and the work year
  • Maintain or improve the number of work hours and work days in the year for ESP
  • All lump sum payments upon retirement from the school district shall be paid as direct employer contributions to the employee’s 403(b) account through MEA-FS

Quality Fringe Benefits:

  • MESSA as the insurance carrier
  • 100 percent employer-paid full-family health coverage (no cap on the insurance premium), including coverage for other qualified adults and their eligible dependent children
  • The priority for bargaining fringe benefits into each contract should be:
    1st priority – MESSA Health Insurance
    2nd priority – MESSA Long Term Disability Insurance
    3rd priority – MESSA Life Insurance
    4th priority – MESSA Dental Insurance
    5th priority – MESSA Vision Insurance
  • High deductible non-MESSA health plan connected to a Health Savings Account (HAS) or a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) is a cost shift to employees and is not a substitute for all or any part of an insurance plan

No Rollbacks:

  • Contract talks should include no rollbacks

In addition, every contract should include:

  • Non-discriminatory language
  • Access to all MEA-FS products through the payroll services of the school district
  • Just cause and progressive discipline for every employee
  • Binding grievance arbitration of contractual matters including evaluation, discipline and discharge
  • Exclusive reservation of bargaining unit work for bargaining unit members
  • Fully paid release time for Association business
  • Provisions defining seniority with layoff & recall seniority and vacant positions filled by seniority
  • Agency shop
  • A defined evaluation process that includes:
    1. The evaluation instrument (form)
    2. The identification of the criteria that will be used to evaluate the employee
    3. A requirement of state whether the employee is “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory”
    4. A requirement that if the employee is identified as unsatisfactory, the reasons for being unsatisfactory will be stated in writing along with a written statement of what the employee must do to become satisfactory, what assistance the administration will provide to the employee to become satisfactory and how long the employee will be allowed in order to become satisfactory.
  • Member protections in connection with ESEA restructuring, highly qualified rules and regulations, and any forthcoming changes in curriculum and graduation standards
  • Quality professional development designed by members and paid for by the employer. Employees will be paid for attendance when professional development occurs outside the school day.
  • Provisions ensuring that members perform and are compensated for all supplementary services

    Recommended by the MEA’s Long Range Bargaining Committee (LRBC), the Staff Bargaining Strategy and Implementation Team (SBSIT)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Upcoming Meeting

KEA Membership Meeting
Where: EKHS Auditorium
When: Monday, June 1
Times: 2:45 p.m. or 4:00(ish) p.m.

Choose the time most convenient for you to attend.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reduction in Staff Q and A

Question: How does the recall process work and when does it begin?
Answer: The recall process has no set beginning or end, if it occurs at all. The Administration is under no contractual obligation to start recalling by a certain date or to stop by a certain date. If they do recall pink slipped employees, they must start at the top of the recall list (the most senior person who is highly qualified for the position).

Question: If a person gets hired into another district throughout the summer, do they remain on the seniority list so they could still get a call back? (I am assuming this questions comes from the fact that person would like to still be here if possible.)
Answer: Yes, you will remain on the call back list (more information below on the call back list) for the required time (explained below) or until you decline Kentwood's call back.

When do my benefits end if I do not get recalled?
Answer: Our contract ends on August 31, 2009, so that is when your benefits would end if you are not recalled.

Do you get compensated for your sick days when you are pink-slipped?
Answer: No, pink slipped teachers do not get compensated for their sick days. On page 16 of our contract, unused accumulated sick leave is only paid upon the severance of a teacher who has taught 10 or more years, and those teachers only receive compensation if they have 25 or more sick days.

Question: If a pink slippee accepts a position as an Intervention teacher / or Para-pro, would they be released if a qualifying job arose? Answer to be posted shortly. (APS)

If I am pink slipped, by what date do I need to have my personal items removed from my classroom?
Answer: If you do not get recalled, your personal items need to be removed by the first day of school, September 8. At this point, just prepare your room as you would normally for the end of the school year.

Question: If I collect unemployment and get recalled, do I have to pay the District back?
Answer: According to our contract page 49, "Any teacher who collects unemployment compensation during the summer months and who is recalled as a teacher by August 1, shall reimburse the District the amount of benefits through payroll deduction or direct payment to the District". Also, you may face a tax liability if you take unemployment and have to pay the district back!
Suggestion: If you decide to collect unemployment, place that money into a separate account that remains untouched until you know it is yours to spend.

Question: When can the pink slipped staff begin to collect unemployment, etc.?
Answer: According to the pink slip letter you received from Administration, the effective layoff date is June 5. If you choose to file for unemployment, keep that date in mind. Also, check out the state's website identifying requirements to qualify. http://www.michigan.gov/uia There is a lot of information for you to read (more than what will fit here!!). Don't forget that to read the question and answer above about repaying unemployment!!

Question: With a one year contract that is up and not being renewed...Do you know if I would be eligible for unemployment?
Answer: Check the website listed above to see what is necessary to qualify for unemployment.

Question: How long do I remain on the District's recall list if I do not get recalled this year? When is the start date for that period of time?
Answer: The recall list shall be maintained by the Board for three full school years or a period equivalent to the individual teacher's accumulated seniority, whichever is greater (contract page 50). So, for example, if you are pink slipped this spring , your name will remain on the recall list for the next 3 full years: the '09-'10 school year, '10-'11 school year, and '11-'12 school year.

Question: How does pink slipping work if I share the same hire date with others?
Answer: Seniority is based first on starting date, second on Board confirmation date, and third on the date on which the written contract was signed. So if you share a starting date, then the Board confirmation date is looked at. If you share a starting date and Board confirmation date, then the date of the signed contract is looked at. If you share all three of those criteria with other people, then your names are put into a drawing and pulled to determine "seniority". If callbacks occur, the most senior person with the qualifications for the open position will be called back first and then on down to the least senior person for jobs in which that person is qualified (refer to page 48 of our contract).


Question: While I haven't been pink slipped, my position has been eliminated. Do I have "bumping rights"?

Answer: "Bumping rights" means that an employee whose position has been eliminated can choose to push (bump) a less senior person out of a desired position. Kentwood does not have bumping rights for its employees. Your seniority gives you a position in the district, but the Administration chooses where to place you. So if your position has been eliminated, yet you have enough seniority that you are not receiving a pink slip, the Administration will determine a placement for you. You may make a request for placement, but the Administration does not have to honor that request (see contract pages 23-24).


Question: I opted for 26 pays. If I am pink slipped, do I still get my 26 paychecks?

Answer: Yes, you still get all 26 paychecks. The paychecks teachers receive during the summer are deferred money from paychecks during the school year. Money is taken from each paycheck during the school year and set aside so teachers can receive paychecks during the summer.