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Frequently Asked Questions: Bargaining and Impasse

  1. What, exactly, is impasse?  When both sides agree that a final settlement on all issues will not be reached with further negotiations, impasse is declared by one or both sides.
  2. What happens after impasse is declared? The next step will be for any issues that remain unsettled go to a mediator. The mediator’s decision is not binding on either party but provides the opportunity for both parties to continue to negotiate with the guidance/pressure of the mediator.  If the mediator determines the parties still cannot reach agreement, the mediator certifies the parties for Fact Finding.  A panel of three hears arguments by both sides and continue to assist both sides to find agreement.  If agreement is not reached, the panel will issue a non-binding report.  The publishing of this report continues to support negotiation of a settlement.  Only at this stage is the district allowed to impose a contract or the union declare a work action.
  3. Are we still trying to negotiate a settlement? Yes, we want to settle a fair contract for our members.  Bargaining can continue at all steps of the process from impasse through Fact Finding.  The district will feel compelled to reach a settlement in direct proportion to the involvement and participation of our membership.
  4. Are we going to strike? A strike, work action, is always the last step and must follow the process above.  This process takes many months to complete.  During these months, we will continue to show our unity and pressure the school district to reconsider its decisions.  These organizing activities will show our unity and resolve, and bring other unions and the community into the discussion to support our position. 
  5. Who decides if we strike or settle? Unit members of F-SUTA are the only ones who can ratify a tentative agreement or call a strike.  Unit members vote and majority of those who vote decide.
  6. Are there any areas of agreement? Yes, in fact we reached tentative agreement on many issues.  The three areas still in dispute are compensation, adjunct duty and class size.  F-SUTA offered the district many ideas/proposals on all of these topics, but the district refused all our options.  We did accept a 2 percent raise for 2016-2017 retroactive to July 2016.
  7. How much are we asking for in compensation for 2017-2018? We are asking for a 1 percent raise on all rates and schedules retroactive to July 2017.  The district offered 0 percent with a one-time bonus.
  8. What about class size? F-SUTA wants what is best for students and we know smaller class sizes are better for students.  Last year’s state test scores prove that our current model isn’t what is best for students.  F-SUTA proposed lowering class size across the grade levels TK-12 or a targeted lowering of class size in specific grade levels or subjects.  We also proposed weighting students with IEPs (excluding speech only students) and/or ELD students when calculating class size.  We also offered to form a task force on class size and continue the negotiation of this article for the 2018-2019 contract.  The district rejected all of these proposals.
  9. What did we want for adjunct language? F-SUTA offered to keep adjunct reducing the number of hours to 10 per school year.  These 10 unpaid hours could be supplemented by the district paying teachers who were interested in doing adjunct hours.
  10. What do we do next? Participate in all organizing activities to show we stand together. Our ability to reach a final tentative agreement depends on all our members participating in F-SUTA activities.  Wear orange on Unity Tuesdays, sign up for weekly (Monday) updates, attend 10-minute F-SUTA meetings after your staff meeting, talk with your Site Representative/Executive Board member so your input is heard, participate in any surveys sent by F-SUTA, and, again, participate in all organizing activities. If your site doesn’t have a Site Representative, elect one.

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