June 25 SREA Newsletter

The Ballots are Coming! The Ballots are Coming!

On Tuesday, June 27th, the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) will be mailing representation election ballots to all teacher-based employees who were employed as of May 18, 2017. For four weeks, teachers will have the opportunity to vote for a new bargaining agent, the Santa Rosa Education Association, and begin to see a CHANGE, not more of the same from SRPE.

Undoubtedly, you’ve read campaign material from both organizations. Rather than sharing reasons for voting for Santa Rosa EA this week, let’s explore what SRPE is saying. Below are a few of SRPE’s primary campaign messages along with the inconvenient truths that follow:

MESSAGE: SRPE has a full time president who is on the scene for members.
THE TRUTH: SRPE’s president is retired and has not taught in a classroom for a number of years. In fact, the president is not eligible to vote in the upcoming representation election because retirees are not in the bargaining unit! This person is not subjected to the rigorous teacher evaluation system that the rank and file members have to endure. Further, while SRPE pays a full salary and benefits to its president, there have been many reports of the president rarely visiting schools, attending school board meetings, or engaging school board members on issues outside of stalled bargaining.

MESSAGE: If Santa Rosa EA wins the election the wages, benefits, and conditions of employment negotiated over the years will become null and void.
THE TRUTH: It is well established in Florida’s collective bargaining law that when a new employee organization takes over the bargaining rights, everything pertaining to salaries, benefits, and working conditions remains in place unless and until it is changed in bargaining. If the District were to skip the bargaining process and make unilateral changes it would be a violation of 447.309 of Florida Statutes which would result in an unfair labor practice charge against the District (447.501). So in short, Santa Rosa EA will inherit the current bargaining duties for teachers and move forward.

MESSAGE: Santa Rosa EA has no officers and doesn’t plan to elect any. This is proof that FEA is running the show.
THE TRUTH: Santa Rosa EA will elect officers after it wins the representation election. In fact, Santa Rosa EA organizers put this into the SREA Constitution in Article V – General Assembly:

“At such time as SREA is duly recognized as the certified bargaining agent, the General Assembly shall meet and adopt By-Laws to establish the governance structure of the organization which will contain the offices of the President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, an Executive board and Association Representative Council. Elections will be executed in accordance with the adopted By-Laws.”

MESSAGE: SRPE has developed working relationships over the years and without having those relationships in place already, success will be impossible for Santa Rosa EA.
THE TRUTH: While SRPE indeed has developed relationships over the years, many would characterize those relationships as frosty and ineffective. If these were solid relationships, there wouldn’t so much acrimony, stalled bargaining, and finger pointing. Santa Rosa EA members are already rising to the occasion, talking with School Board members and the Superintendent about finding ways to work from common ground while still taking a firm stand for employee rights, equity, and fairness. SRPE has been conspicuously absent from these sorts of conversations, however.

The evident strategy from SRPE is very clear, use fear to manipulate employees to vote for the status quo. To quote Dr. Phil, “How’s that been working out for you?”

If you are tired of the status quo, then obviously it is time for change.
If you want CHANGE

Ed Support, you’re next!

Just this week, PERC issued an order for a representation election to take place as soon as possible. Currently, we are in discussions with PERC to suggest the dates of the election window. Our interest is to have balloting occur sooner rather than later, so stay tuned!