1) Oregon Education Association
Shows Us How to Circumvent Seniority. The Oregon
has not been able to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with
its own staff and the situation is reaching critical mass.
The staff went on a
three-week strike in 2008, but the economic situation is much worse this
time around. OEA projects a $2.6 million deficit for the next school year (more
than 10 percent in the red) and plans significant cuts to close it. The
union's representative assembly also approved a change to the dues formula
that will lead to an increase next year.
The budget reductions include a cut to
contributions to the staff pension fund and the closing of a single UniServ
council office. But it is the staff layoffs, and how they were arrived at,
that has already led to a great deal of friction.
Management sent layoff notices to seven
of the 42 professional staffers and 13 of the 40 associate staffers, for a
combined layoff of almost 25 percent. As you might imagine, the staff
contracts set seniority as the top criterion for layoffs, with the last-in
to be the first-out. But OEA management is trying to throw a curveball past
its own employees.
Instead of laying off in reverse order
of hiring, the union is laying off in reverse order of positions being
created. This has resulted in two employees with more than 30 years of
experience receiving pink slips.
That's a hell of a maneuver, and one
easily replicated by school districts if any had the sand to try it. Can't
lay off your most senior employees? Merely appoint them to head the new
Teacher Evaluation Center, or some such dodge. Pitch it as a promotion. Then
lay them off because they hold the most recently created positions. It's
either devilishly clever or delusional. In what reality will the staff union
stand for that?
Since OEA's projections are based on
removing high-end employees, it might also mean additional layoffs or
spending cuts will become necessary when the staff union puts the kibosh on
Equally large numbers of layoff notices
have been issued at other NEA state affiliates, but to my knowledge they
were all issued in compliance with the staff contract.
OEA's internal labor strife runs
concurrently with a series of teacher strikes and near-strikes over the last
month. More than 500 members of the
Reynolds Education Association are on the picket line today.
2) Scheduling Note.
The next EIA Communiqué will appear on Tuesday, May 29.
3) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from May 15-21:
School Employees Defeat Unionization Attempt. Lost in space.
The Breakfast Club Is Trying to Eat the Union's Lunch. San Diego union
insiders have some pointed criticisms of the California Teachers
Mulgrew and the Singular Affair of the Aluminum Crutch. We should
acknowledge the difference between a non-story and a story, and the phases
I'm Black Ops!" Amateurs.
Building a Cart Without a Horse. Buy now, pay later.
Quote of the Week.
was your choice. This consequence was known beforehand … It was predictable
- Stephen Augspurger, executive director of the
Clark County (Nevada) school administrators' union, addressing Clark
County Education Association members about employee layoffs. (May 16
Las Vegas Sun)