Like you, I’m very disappointed the district feels they’ve “met their goal” on Salary for the 2022-2023 school year when we closed the 2021-2022 contract in December. Prefacing the bad news by stating that they’re “committed to being competitive with employee compensation in San Diego County” is clever double speak. If they were truly committed to keeping us competitively compensated, they’d enter Salary negotiations with VTA every time we bargained!
I’ve seen how hard you’ve been working to continually put Vista students first and I know the district and board have seen your efforts as well. This is why offering 0% to dedicated employees, and unilaterally removing Salary as a negotiable item, in a time of 8.5% inflation, feels like a gut punch.
This is NOT demonstrating the respect the district says they hold as a core value.
This does NOT show respect to certificated staff who consistently work to make VUSD a welcoming learning environment everyday.
This does NOT show respect to certificated staff who are finishing up what are arguably the most difficult 2 ½ years in education.
This does NOT show respect to certificated staff who continue to work tirelessly to help kids recover from the trauma, lack of socialization, and academic gaps from the pandemic.
This decision is unconscionable.
It’s extremely upsetting the district feels 0% is a reasonable offer given the fact that the projected COLA is to be around 7%. Clearly the district’s goals are out of alignment with VTA’s. 0% feels like a slap in the face. Given that our school board and management seem to make providing union opportunities for our graduating students a priority, they make a point of hiring labor union friendly construction companies through the Project Labor Agreement (PLA), when spending bond monies. Yet they refuse to show respect for their own labor force! Indeed, by presenting such a ridiculous offer, the opposite occurs, namely, showing a total lack of respect for VTA Membership. Members, remember YOU are VTA. We need you now to show them who the VTA represents: every last one of you!
The No Strike Provision
I’ve had many members reach out, asking if we can strike. We can’t strike at this time under Article 4: The No Strike Provision. I understand why people want to strike. The offer by management demonstrates they’re either oblivious to our nation’s current economic crisis with inflation, or that they simply don’t care about the average VTA Member. Management is definitely not considering how inflation impacts Vista educators’ ability to put students first.
Why is that?
Maybe because management makes the big bucks, and inflation isn’t affecting their way of life? Must be nice. We’re currently working under the 2021-2022 Contract, so what we can do at this juncture is organize as a united front. We need to show the district our collective might and worth.
Can I do more than Wear My Shirt and Write Letters?
Know your rights:
Article 18.9: Regular Teacher Substitute Compensation.
This year our district used many of our VTA family members who are not “Regular Teacher(s)” to fill in as guest teachers when there were not enough substitute teachers to fill vacancies.
This included: ANYONE WITHOUT A ROSTERED CLASS who is a VTA member.
This contract article is something that not all districts have and we should all stand together to protect it. Without this article, teachers can be forced to give up prep or to take in extra students.
We can all agree that this article should contain protections for our counselors, and our VTA family members who do not have a rostered class. We want to put our students first. But with policies that do not allow members, such as counselors to focus on, not only the social and emotional well being of our students but their graduation path as well. They can not put our students first when they are forced to sub.
This article protects PREP and Student:Teacher Ratio, and should be expanded to include all members. We have seen how our counselors have been used as place fillers to supervise students, instead of doing what they should be doing, providing social and emotional support for our students and families.
Ultimately it is your choice to sub on your prep, or take on extra students, this should be the right of all of our members. Our union does not judge you if you exercise your CHOICE to sub. The contract PROTECTS your right to use your professional judgment to do what is best for our students.
VTA Encourages you to exercise your right, especially given the fact that VUSD Leadership treats our highly educated workforce as expendable. We can see the heart of an organization in their budget and their policies. What does the decision to offer 0% show about our district, what does using our VTA members as place fillers say about how our district uses its highly educated workforce. In this time of economic uncertainty, VTA will not tell you to sub or not to sub, we want what is best for you and your family, especially since VUSD offered 0%. We want you to know that we value this protection.
Ways to Make Your Voice Be Heard
You can still contact your board members since they are the decision makers of this district.
Before I was in this role I invited past board members to come and visit my classroom to see what I really do. Every single Board Member, including Jim Gibson, came to visit my classroom. Will these board members do that? Invite them?
YOU ARE EMPOWERED TO:
REMIND the President of OUR SCHOOL BOARD that with this deal he does not support increasing wages for a labor force while running for Mayor in a city that does not provide moderate housing.
EDUCATE our district management and two of our former teacher Board members that have clearly forgotten what it is like to be in the classroom.
EDUCATE our Parent Board Member what the role of an educator is. She must not understand what it is like to be in the classroom.
REMINDour CTA Endorsed Board Member that she is an educator as well, and we WANT her to use her voice for EDUCATORS.
How can you Talk to VTA allies about the district’s non starter offer with inflation roaring in the background
Come to one of our events. These events are just not a social event but a way for you to connect with other members so we can strengthen our unity.
We can not lead with anger. We as educators have seen how our district can use this to divide us. Let’s not lead with the anger that we all feel with such a hurtful offer. Let’s use reason. I know many of you have personal connections with our board members and management, as some of them were once classroom teachers in VUSD, and hoped they’d demonstrate through their policies and budget choices they have a heart for their workforce and WE, the members, are the one who actually put students first, not just with pomp and circumstance at board meetings and coalition meetings. YOU members are VTA, remember your worth and how leadership shows their value of educators.
In Solidarity and with Respect,