September 29, 2021
After much preparation, we were prepared and ready to be at the bargaining table today. We received very last minute notice that the District would have to cancel. We will be meeting with management again on Monday and we expect management to come to the table with a response to our proposals on the vaccine mandate and many other proposals, including wages. We are having a Contract Action Team meeting next week on Wednesday, October 6th. If you are interested in joining the Contract Action Team, please contact Bargaining Team member Kari Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 15, 2021
To date, your Bargaining Team has spent:
79.50 hours planning
38.5 hours at the table with the district
Your team was back at the bargaining table (via Zoom) for the first time since mid-August on Wednesday. We were able to counter several proposals and offered tentative agreements to several more. We also presented a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) addressing the affects of the Governor’s vaccine mandate. We have three more bargaining sessions on the calendar, and we continue to review and rewrite contract language where needed. One item in particular we are pursuing is the continuation of the district paying the employee’s portion of the premium for Family Leave and Medical Leave benefit as bargained and agreed upon in our previous contract.
We are making progress overall.
August 30, 2021
After our last bargaining session on August 10th, the District informed us that their next available date for bargaining would be September 15th. They provided us with two dates in September and two dates in October, all of which were presented to us as half days only. We requested full days, evenings and weekends from the District, but they declined. The District suggested “there is every expectation that this heavy spell of bargaining will continue until the holiday season.” Please be assured that this does not mean that we are working without a contract, our current contract will remain in effect until a new contract is ratified.
August 10, 2021
After sharing our disappointment of the pace of negotiations, the District bargaining team was much more receptive to our proposals. RESPECT was demanded by your team.
Our contract language has not been updated in many years. Some of the language is stale and does not represent a fair and equitable union. We have proposed major changes in contract language.
We have submitted dozens of proposals and reviewed the proposals from the District. We still have PLENTY of work to do. Be prepared for future actions. We are expanding our network of building representatives. If interested, please reach out to Anitra Wise, email@example.com or Lisa Wolf, firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 5, 2021
To date your Bargaining Team has spent:
61 hours in Bargaining Team Planning and
27.5 hours at the Bargaining Table with TPS
We are disappointed in the pace of negotiations due to lack of preparation and engagement on the part of management. We have informed them of our displeasure and expectations moving forward and expect to see more movement on their part when we meet again next week.
July 24, 2021
As you probably know, your bargaining team has been reviewing our old contract language. Our goal is to not only update the wording from the old contract, but also to review all of the articles and sections to make sure they apply appropriately to today’s members. This update is long overdue. The bargaining process is a volley of proposals and counter proposals between your bargaining team and the district’s team. This is a give and take process that repeats until there is consensus between the teams. We have sent many proposals across the table and this coming week your team will be reviewing the first of the district’s counter proposals.
July 15, 2021
Message from your Bargaining Team
45 hours in Bargaining Team Planning and
23.5 hours at the Bargaining Table with the District
June 30, 2021
Our union bargaining team is committed to a Collective Bargaining Agreement that meets the priorities of our members.
We presented the results of our member survey highlighting our top priorities for negotiations. In addition, we presented numerous proposals to management, including:
- Dealing collaboratively with safety and assaults.
- Working towards a minimum hours of work to meet the needs of qualifying for SEBB and PFML.
- Adequate compensation for when there is no certificated staff present.
- 420-hour employees moving to permanent position.
- Gender affirming language throughout the contract.
- Creating language that differentiates between staff assault and disciplinary procedures for students with volatile behavior.
We look forward to the District’s counter proposals and are committed to getting a Collective Bargaining Agreement that the bargaining team can recommend our members’ support and focus on our priorities.
June 23, 2021
Progress in Bargaining Report 6/23/2021:
Bargaining progressive with the support and input of our members. During bargaining we presented proposals that reflect the priorities our members and discussed the $70.7 million funding that was designated for Tacoma Public School in the American Rescue Plan:
We exchanged many proposals and are looking forward to discussing staffing issues at the next session.
June 16, 2021
Your Bargaining Team would like to share with you, after a long day of bargaining today, we were able to:
June 10, 2021
Through our actions we’ve demonstrated to the District that we are united going into contract negotiations. Based on our membership survey, we presented to the District our top priorities at our first session, including:
● Maintaining hours of work and job security from year to year
● A real living wage - wages that keep up with the cost of living
● Workload increases and cuts in hours
● Respect for the work we do with students
● Safety with students with volatile behavior
Our union bargaining team members presented background and real-life supporting information to the District team on these priorities.
Now we need to make sure all our members are signing our unity petition telling the district that Full Time Students Deserve Full Time Support and wearing BLUE on Thursday, June 17! Make sure to contact your bargaining team or Contract Action Team members to sign the petition.
We are looking forward to a continuing dialogue with the District in an atmosphere of openness and respect.
Your TFESP Bargaining Team,
Gillian Reese, First VP, Willard Early Learning Head Start
Anitra Wise, Building Coordinator, Stewart Middle School
Jana, Building Representative, Inclusive Preschool
Kari Madden, Building Representative, Foss High School
Rhonda Stinson, Secretary, Mt Tahoma High School
Elizabeth Douglas, Building Coordinator, Franklin Elementary
Kathy Unruh, President, Geiger Montessori
Lisa Wolf, Building Coordinator, SLPA, Itinerant Buildings
Liz Walle, Director of Communications, Washington Elementary
Congratulations to the newly-elected members of our Executive Board:
· President -- Kathy Unruh
· First Vice President – Gillian Reese
· Second Vice President – Elizabeth Holland
· Treasurer – Laura Robyn
· Parliamentarian – Tracey Brown
· Building Rep Coordinator A – Anitra Wise
· Building Rep Coordinator C – Therese Belle
These new members will work with our continuing board members:
· Secretary – Rhonda Stinson
· Building Rep Coordinator B – Lisa Wolf
· Communications Director – Liz Walle
It takes a village.
We are not “just a …”
Before I joined the community of TPS, I worked for a national youth development organization. A career that included agency management, program development and management and training adults and youth. What kept me there for 30 years was that the programs are focused on kids’ developmental assets and not their deficits. Also, the incredible sense of community that existed in every facet of the organization. Everyone from the CEO to the program volunteers to the summer camp cooks were focused on kids and we all worked together to meet the developmental needs of our members. We worked together, we listened to each other and our focus as on the youth we served.
No one was “just a …”
Now, working for TPS, I am still looking for the developmental assets, not the deficits, in our kids and of course I am looking for that sense of community that is so important to kids and adults. I believe in the saying that it “takes a village to raise a child.” We all bring skills and knowledge to TPS, to our buildings and programs and to our kids. We need a reason to work together that is more than a high school graduation percentage or a sports player who becomes a professional player. We need a goal that every TPS staff member feels they are contributing to. No one in this district is “just a …”. Together we can help our kids become caring confident adults.
I met with Deputy Superintendent Josh Garcia this week and this is how I felt afterwards. I told him that many people in TPS feel that they are “just a para” or “just a bus monitor”. That they feel like they are not seen as an equal member of the district. I believe that most of us are working in schools for similar reasons (in addition to pay) and I believe that the district needs to believe that everyone plays a role in achieving that goal. Dr. Garcia took notes on what I said. They are watching, but are they listening?
Many thanks to the Bylaw Committee who have been working for many months on reviewing and updating our Bylaws. The new Bylaws are posted on this website under "Important Documents." Thanks also go to the members who attended our November 23rd Zoom meeting to discuss and vote on the Bylaws. One major note -- we are now the TACOMA FEDERATION OF EDUCATION SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS. This was a very important change, making us more inclusive to the Bus Monitors, ASL Interpreters, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, Speech Language Pathology Assistants, Physical Therapy Assistants, Health Room Assistants, LPN's and others represented by our union, along with our paraeducators.
Much has transpired and shifted for me on a personal level due to the circumstances of these past several months. So much so that I have made the decision to resign from Tacoma Public Schools. It is a personal decision and a very bittersweet one. This means I will be stepping down from my role as president of TFP, effective November 6th, 2020.
During my time in this role, our local has grown in so many ways. These past months were like nothing anyone could have predicted and through it, we came alive! Don't let that diminish! It will be necessary for more member involvement as life continues to move forward and preparations begin for CBA negotiations in the spring.
Additionally, you have just elected some incredible members to the executive board who have already proven their determination to work towards the betterment of our local:
Vice President - Kathy Unruh
Secretary - Rhonda Stinson
Editor - Liz Walle
Building Coordinator B - Lisa Wolf
Sgt at Arms - Phoebe Grigsby
In alignment with our bylaws, our current vice-president, Kathy Unruh, will step into the role of president for the duration of this term, which ends in June. Please give grace and patience during the transition.
Going forward, please send questions and inquiries to email@example.com.
All the best,