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MEA Update
2011-12 Negotiations
August 24, 2011
What happened over the summer regarding the collective bargaining process?
During the June 7, 2011 Legislative Hearing the School Board imposed Health Insurance premium increases for 2011, a reduction in Terminal Pay benefits effective July 1, 2011, a later date in the work year for notification of renewal status and salary experience step advancement on the schedule only after negotiations is concluded.
Both the Teacher and Paraprofessional bargaining unit employees voted to reject the imposed agreement including those items tentatively agreed to prior to impasse. Specific information about the ratification vote is available on MEA’s “Know Your Contract” page.
What does this mean for the start of the 2011-12 year?
Only those changes imposed by the School Board during the impasse hearing will be implemented for the next fiscal year. Any tentative agreement changes will not be implemented, but may be renegotiated. Therefore, teacher and paraprofessional pay for the beginning of the year will not reflect any changes from last year’s salary. There will be no experience step advancement unless negotiated and ratified by both employees and the School Board. Health insurance premium increases will be deducted in the first payroll and will continue until modified through negotiations. Terminal pay will reflect the July 1, 2011 imposed modifications. A copy of the imposed, but not ratified collective bargaining agreement is available on MEA’s “Know Your Contract” page.
How will the legislative changes in the Florida Retirement System impact my pay?
The legislature approved a budget that requires FRS members to contribute three percent (3%) of their salary toward their pension. Your first pay of the year will reflect the deduction of your individual 3% FRS contribution. The impact on the average teacher for this legislative change is approximately $1,417 per year or about $60 from each of the twenty-four pay checks. The average paraprofessional will contribute around $571 or approximately $24 each pay check, for 24 pay periods. The total impact for all teachers and paraprofessionals is nearly four million dollars ($4,000,000) that will not be available for teachers and paraprofessionals to spend in Manatee County.
What other impacts are there related to budget cuts and negotiations for the 2011-12 year?
Regardless of the School Board decisions related to proposed budget cuts, no changes in wages, benefits, terms and conditions of employment may be implemented until the negotiations process is completed. Although there have been School Board meetings and news reports that teacher pay will be reduced and employees will suffer furlough days, these are subject to negotiations and are not legally implemented prior to the completion of the negotiations process for the 2011-12 year. Therefore, your initial paychecks will not reflect a change in your salary. Returning employee pay will be the same as last year’s salary. Only the FRS contribution and health insurance premium deductions will impact employee pay as negotiations continue.
What is happening in negotiations?
The MEA and the District negotiations teams began negotiations for the 2011-12 year immediately following the rejection of the 2010-11 imposed contracts for teachers and paraprofessionals. The teams met, using a traditional negotiations process, on June 28, July, 12, 14, 27, 28 and August 17 and 23. Additional bargaining sessions are scheduled for September. In addition, the Teacher Evaluation Committee has been meeting over the past year to revise the Teacher Evaluation System and the Health Insurance Committee has been meeting to discuss the Health Insurance benefit plans and premiums for the 2012 plan year that begins January 1, 2012. Both Committees will present their recommendations to the negotiations teams.
Several of the tentative agreements from last year have been resubmitted in negotiations and have been tentatively agreed to by the parties. MEA has submitted proposed changes to the imposed items and the impact of imposed items, including the salary experience step advancement and terminal pay, on items impacted by changes in a few paraprofessional job descriptions, and on impact items as a result of legislation. The District has proposed to reduce salary for teachers by 2.75%, to furlough paraprofessionals for three (3) days, to reduce School District paid Life Insurance (Article XII, Section) and to increase Health Insurance employee share of premiums effective January 1, 2012. (Additional increase ranging from zero percent (0%) for Blue Options coverage to more than six hundred thirty percent (630%) for Blue Care HMO employee coverage).  The impact of the District’s proposed reduction in salary and benefits will reduce employee take home pay by approximately six million two hundred thousand dollars ($6,200,000). With the FRS contribution and the District proposals the impact is $10,200,000 less in the Manatee County economy. If the District proposals are implemented, the average teacher would have about $3,600 less to spend in the community during the 2011-12 year. Paraprofessionals would have nearly $1,800 less on average to spend in the community. MEA believes that the salary and benefit reductions proposed by the District are not necessary, are unwarranted and will negatively impact the Manatee County economy.  Read more information about MEA and District proposals and the impact of these proposals by visiting MEA’s “Recent News” page.   
What action can MEA members take?
Each MEA member can support the MEA negotiations team by contacting the Superintendent and School Board members and letting them know about the individual and family impacts from further take backs like those proposed by the District. At a recent School Board meeting, a School Board member reported that she had talked with about 500 teachers that day and these teachers told her that “they were happy to just have a job” and that “they were willing to do whatever it takes to keep jobs.” This is not what teachers and paraprofessionals are reporting to MEA. Make sure the School Board members hear from you! 
Superintendent and School Board Member Contact Information

MEA Presentation to School Board on June 7, 2011

The Legislative Hearing to resolve issues at impasse for the teachers' and paraprofessionals' 2010-2011 contract year will be held on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the School Support Center, 215 Manatee Avenue West.  

Click on the link above to read more . . .

The Manatee County School Board’s Health Insurance Proposals Will Hurt the Lowest Paid Employees and Cause Damage to the Plan

May 2, 2011
BRADENTON —The Manatee Education Association (MEA), the union representing teachers and paraprofessionals, rejected a single recommendation made by the assigned Special Magistrate in the negotiations impasse with the School District. Although the union is not opposed to increasing health insurance premiums for the current year, the district’s proposal has some fundamental flaws according to Bruce Proud, the union’s chief negotiator.

Click on the link above to read more . . .