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Michigan Association of School Administrators New Superintendent’s Conference September 26, 2006. Negotiations: Practical Info Every Superintendent Needs to Know. Dr. Rodney Green Superintendent East China School District. PERA – Public Employment Relations Act. Duty to bargain

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michigan association of school administrators new superintendent s conference september 26 2006
Michigan Association of School AdministratorsNew Superintendent’s ConferenceSeptember 26, 2006
Negotiations: Practical Info Every Superintendent Needs to Know.Dr. Rodney Green SuperintendentEast China School District
pera public employment relations act
PERA – Public Employment Relations Act
  • Duty to bargain
  • Meet and confer in good faith with respect to wages, hours, and conditions of employment
  • Neither party is compelled to agree to a proposal or make concessions
  • Good faith bargaining is manifesting an attitude and conduct that will be conducive to reaching an agreement
bargaining is a continuous process
Bargaining is a continuous process
  • Preparation – review files, grievances, survey administration and board, put together facts regarding finances
  • Face to face negotiations
  • Contract administration
  • Then, preparation for the next round
  • No substitute for facts – you should ALWAYS over prepare. Know your stuff.
  • Credibility goes with knowing the information
    • Benefits – health, dental, vision, LTD, Life
    • Payroll for the group; retirement, FICA
    • Budget – cost of steps for group
    • How many are at the top? How many opt out?
comparison to other districts
Comparison to Other Districts
  • Important step in the preparation for bargaining
  • Watch out for cherry picking
  • Make sure you’re grounded in the facts
  • Talk to other superintendents
  • Know the good stuff and bad stuff in your contract compared to other districts
getting started
Getting Started
  • What type of bargaining are you going to do? Full, expedited, interest based . . .
  • Who is on management team?
    • Chief Spokesperson, other administrators
  • Ground Rules for negotiations
    • Permissive subject
    • Media blackout – not necessarily in district’s best interest
what happens at the table in full bargaining
What happens at the table in full bargaining?
  • Spokesperson
    • Only one person should be talking at table
  • Caucus
    • Use time wisely; get input from others on team
  • Taking Notes
    • Script every word as much as possible; one person should be designated
  • How do you decide what to put on table?
    • Clean up language
    • Talk to building level administrators about issues
    • Proposals versus Practice
    • Are concessions possible?
    • Start strong and stick to it
    • Lay out concerns about health insurance, etc
budget issues
Budget Issues
  • Dealing with the budget shows that the Board is concerned about spending
  • Board and administration need to be concerned about budget issues given the state-wide issues with retirement, etc.
  • Be cautious with buy outs. They are short term solutions and could send the wrong message to employees.
prohibited subjects of bargaining
Prohibited Subjects of Bargaining
  • PA 112
  • Policy holder for health insurance
  • Decisions concerning experimental or pilot programs and/or technology
  • Starting day of school
  • Amount of student contact time
  • Composition of site based decision making bodies or school improvement teams
prohibited subjects
Prohibited Subjects
  • Decision for open enrollment in or out of district
  • Authorization of a Public School Academy
  • Contracting for support services
  • Use of volunteers
  • Regional bargaining
    • Cannot veto local agreement
ideas on containing health insurance costs
Ideas on Containing Health Insurance Costs
  • Language that caps cost for that year (when contract expires employees pay increase) – helps with the next round
  • Employees co-pay on premium
  • Self insure; HSA
  • Higher deductibles & higher co-pays on prescriptions
ideas for salary increases
Ideas for Salary Increases
  • Tie to Foundation
  • Tie to total compensation
  • Tie to % of total pie
  • % 1st semester - % 2nd semester
fund balance
Fund Balance
  • Is it important?
    • emergency, cash flow, borrow less, investment income, bond rating, executive order cuts
  • Some say districts are not a bank . . .
    • Cash flow is very important.
  • Two months for emergencies (16%)
  • Once its spent, its gone forever.
what about new language
What About New Language?
  • Every word in contract restricts management rights
  • Find your philosophical base regarding management versus employee rights
  • Superintendents come and go – not so with employee groups
tentative agreements
Tentative Agreements
  • Written only
    • Do not try to agree to things verbally
  • What should be retroactive?
    • Language
    • Pay
    • Who is affected?
  • How is the contract ratified?
contract administration
Contract Administration
  • Past practice
  • Correcting a wrong practice

Use contract language

  • Contract language becomes meaningless if it is not put into practice
  • Grievance administration
what happens when the contract expires
What happens when the Contract Expires?
  • Terms and conditions still apply
  • Extension or no extension
    • No extension means no arbitration on grievances
  • Union pressure tactics
    • “We want a contract” really means, “We want a raise”.
    • Buttons, picketing, work to rule, etc.
    • MEA seems to target superintendent 
    • Frame the issue -- “Benefits and salaries are important and difficult issues and we’re working to reach agreement”
patience is a key factor
Patience is a Key Factor
  • Patience and More patience – The board must realize this. Talk to members about process and how it is important to allow the process to work.
  • Impatient board members and administrators make bad deals
  • Quick Deal – There are no good quick deals (or at least very few)
involving the board
Involving the Board
  • Keep the Board updated
  • Go over parameters and confidentiality early
  • Executive sessions
  • Legal issues
unfair labor practice charges
Unfair Labor Practice Charges
  • Another pressure tactic
  • Don’t change tactics because of a threat to file
  • Good faith bargaining does not mean saying yes. You can listen and still say no.
  • Once you have a tentative agreement, make sure it includes dropping the unfair labor practice charges
  • Bargain in good faith to impasse
  • You can bargain to impasse on one item, if necessary
  • Implementation will be difficult
  • Make sure you have an attorney if you’re thinking of bargaining to impasse
  • You don’t generally meet the union across the table
  • You meet in your own groups and mediator goes back and forth between
  • Prepare – Convince the mediator of the facts and you’ll have a better chance to reach an agreement
work to rule
Work to Rule
  • Refusal to perform activities or duties that are part of normal day to day could be viewed as a partial strike within PERA
  • Union employees have a right to engage in concerted activities, if those concerted activities result in a refusal to perform normal services, such activity may not be protected under PERA
work to rule26
Work to Rule
  • If voluntary activities have normally been done (ie chaperoning dances), not performing this duty during a contract dispute could be a violation
  • Concerted activity to refuse may not be protected under PERA
  • Michigan Negotiators Association is a good resource for superintendents
how to deal with media
How to Deal With Media
  • What to say
    • Could give table positions
    • Get the district message out; frame the issue
  • Don’t say
    • Cannot give sidebar or off the record proposals or positions
    • Don’t disparage union position, talk about your position
do s and don ts regarding proper communications
Do’s and Don’ts regarding proper communications
  • Do, when questioned, accurately inform employee of the facts, status and table position of the employer
  • Do, when questioned, clarify certain contract proposals or answer employee questions regarding interpretation of proposals
  • Don’t inquire what went on at a union meeting
don ts regarding proper communications
Don’ts regarding proper communications
  • Don’t offer directly to employees something not offered at the table
  • Don’t call an employee into your office to discuss negotiations
  • Don’t state to any employee that we could reach a settlement if association representatives would get out of the way
  • Don’t misrepresent association bargaining position or imply association proposals were in some respect adverse to employee interests
  • Off the Record
  • Usually one from each side or maybe two people from each side
  • Actually get something done
  • Sometimes used to get the final deal done
off the record
Off the Record
  • You can also do “off the record” written proposals
  • Sometimes after side bar discussion
  • Sometimes done the whole negotiations
    • Helps with comfort level – realistic positions
  • Denote on form “off the record written proposal”
  • Can pull back if doesn’t help settle
expedited bargaining
Expedited Bargaining
  • Limit the issues
  • Set time limits
  • Smaller teams
  • Informal, almost like a side bar or off the record
interest based bargaining
Interest Based Bargaining
  • Training for both sides is available
  • Facilitators from management and union help facilitate the bargaining sessions
  • More collaborative than full bargaining
  • Each team member is expected to contribute in some fashion in the sessions
interest based bargaining34
Interest Based Bargaining
  • Story – everyone contributes to the story
  • Interests
  • Options – brainstorming
  • Straw Design – combinations of options
  • Evaluation
  • Consensus – everyone has to agree
  • Based on the concept of building relationships – soft on people, hard on the problem
relationship with union
Relationship with Union
  • Sometimes bargaining is a power struggle
  • Everything becomes an issue
  • Don’t take it personally
  • Follow through, build trust
  • Be good with the numbers, don’t cry wolf
  • Make sure people can read you
  • Establish trust and credibility and both sides can establish power base
  • Be Patient
  • Help Board members be patient
  • Don’t make decisions (like reducing too many days) for a quick fix. The next round will be upon you soon and then what will you do?
  • Eventually, it will settle
  • Hang in there and keep hanging in there