Big Win on Benefits, Let’s Keep Up the Pressure

Posted on October 11, 2017

Bargaining Update

October 11, 2017

Bargaining Highlights

  • The District officially pulled the health benefits article off the table. This means that our healthcare is protected and cannot be changed during the term of our contract!
  • The District moved significantly closer to SDEA on providing air conditioning in every classroom— this will improve classroom and student safety.
  • The District proposed weakening seniority rights in our transfer process.
  • SDEA made another strong proposal on work hours.

Read below for additional details and full proposals.

SDEA Wins on Health Benefits!

After announcing just two weeks ago that they would be opening our health benefits article on Oct. 5, the District reversed course and officially pulled that article off the table. What happened in between Sep. 19 and Oct. 5? SDEA union meetings at fifty-plus schools just in that two-week window, a plan to show up at the Superintendent’s Oct. 17 State of the District address, and a union-wide red t-shirt day. When we stand together, we win!

Positive Movement on Safety

The District has committed to providing air conditioning in all classrooms and educational support spaces, a giant leap forward in the right direction. This improvement in contract language will provide significant relief to our educators and students who work/learn in spaces currently not equipped with air conditioning. This language will include the installation of air conditioning units in thousands of classrooms and educational support spaces.

The District also committed to provide training and resources to educators and staff who are expected to implement restorative practices. The District’s proposals also require administrators to utilize shared-decision-making in each school community before implementing restorative practices—which is a positive acknowledgment of the need for stakeholder input before implementing significant programs like restorative practices.

Lastly on safety, the District proposed to add a new requirement that members provide an original purchase receipt in order to receive reimbursement for personal property destroyed at work. SDEA did not accept this new addition that can prove to be problematic down the road—we intend to offer a realistic counterproposal on this piece.

We Still Have a Fight in Other Areas and Must Keep Up the Pressure


When bargaining began, SDEA’s team made an ambitious and thoughtful transfer proposal that would bring more stability to our school staffing, and would create a more fair and transparent process for moving voluntarily or involuntarily from one school to another. The District rejected every single part of SDEA’s proposal with no satisfactory explanation. Even when pressed, they couldn’t explain their objection to most of our proposal, suggesting they simply hadn’t taken it seriously enough to even consider. The only change the district proposed was increasing the number of candidates who may be interviewed when filling posted vacancies from the current number of five candidates to ten. Such a change would weaken our current seniority rights.


SDEA’s strong leaves proposal would make several significant changes: Establishing paid maternity leave that does not come out of accrued sick leave (much like what educators in the Grossmont School District recently won), expanding parental bonding leave for all new parents, increasing the number of sick days we can use for personal business each year from three to ten, and allowing members who are ill better access to using Family Medical Leave.

On Oct. 5, the District finally made their counterproposal. Although they made movement in the right direction on parental bonding, the District rejected our proposals on maternity and personal business leaves. Regarding maternity leave, the District is claiming poverty, but has yet to provide evidence that our proposal would create a cost burden. In fact, members who give birth already take maternity leave, so SDEA’s bargaining team believes there would be little to no fiscal impact on the District budget. The only difference would be that new birth-mothers would not have to burn through sick leave that they could otherwise use in the future or save for eventual STRS credit—just like members who don’t give birth are able to do.

Shared Decision-making

The District rejected all of SDEA’s proposal, instead proposing that a mediated conversation around Shared Decision-making in the future would be the best course of actions.


SDEA made a counterproposal on hours that continues to fight for expansion of the elementary enrichment program, strengthens protections around prep. time, and would establish new rights around grade-level/subject changes and classroom moves.

How Can We Stand Up to Win a Fair Contract NOW?

The District’s rapid reverse-course on health benefits shows that when we all stand up and DEMAND what is right, the District changes their behavior. Here is what every SDEA member can do right now to get in the fight for a fair contract:

  1. Attend your site’s Wave One Union Meeting if it hasn’t happened yet. See your AR for info!
  2. Sign the L.E.A.R.N. petition, and see your AR about getting parents to sign as well.
  3. Join the delegation of SDEA members delivering our L.E.A.R.N. petitions to Supt. Cindy Marten at her State of the District Address at 4 p.m. on Oct. 17 at Sherman Elementary.
  4. Join in the union-wide pop-up picket on Nov. 8 at your school!

All Bargaining Proposals:

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