Current Bargaining Cycle Updates
Steps of the Bargaining Cycle and Explanations
Gather is the first part the the bargaining cycle. It is one of the most vital parts. This stage is where leadership in the association seeks input from members about which article they would like to bargain. This usually occurs through a survey and/or stie visits.
Sunshining is where the association notifies the district school board which article the association chose to bargain. The district school board will notify the association as well which article they would like to bargain.
Bargaining takes the most time. Bargaining starts with both teams, district and association, sitting down, introducing themselves, setting norms, and setting a few first dates for meeting. The teams then enter into active bargaining where proposals are exchanged and discussed together. A tentative agreement (TA) could be reached during bargaining and the process ends here with ratification. If a TA is not reached and bargaining seems to reach a stalemate, then either party could file for impasse.
Impasse is where either team, district or association, fills out an extensive form showing that both parties have exhausted all means and cannot reach an agreement. This is filed with PERB (Public Employment Relations Board). PERB can either approve the impasse or deny impasse. If impasse is approved, the teams enter mediation. If impasse is denied, the teams go back into bargaining.
When impasse is approved by PERB, the state assigns a mediator to lead the process. Mediation is a confidential process. This means that nothing can be shared out from the mediation by either party. Both parties are required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). The NDA means that if any information is found to come out of bargaining, then the team it came from can be found in violation of the NDA. The other team can pull out of bargaining. That means the whole process would have to start over again. After the NDA is signed, each team meets separately with the mediator. The mediator goes between each group having confidential discussions and trying to help each team come to consensus. There can be up to five (5) mediation date unless both parties and the mediator agree to more. If the teams come to consensus, a TA can be signed and the TA is sent out for ratification. If the teams and the mediator see that no agreement can be made, the teams can file for Fact Finding.
Fact Finding consists of a three (3) person panel. The panel is made up of one person the district chooses, one person the association chooses, and one person from the state. The panel looks closely at all documentation provided by each team. There is a hearing in which all documents are provided. The panel has thirty (30) days (but given no more than forty-five (45) days) from the end of the hearing to provide a recommendation. The panel then meets with both teams within five (5) days of the recommendation to explain the recommendation. The panel will ask if this resolves the disputed bargaining. If the dispute is not resolved, the panel shall publicize their finding along with reasoning. At this point, the district can choose what to impose on the association as the agreement. If the association likes it, it is generally considered resolved. If the association does not like it, the association can vote to strike.
If the district imposes a contract the association does not agree with, the association leadership will take a strike vote to the members. Eighty Percent (80%) must vote in favor of a strike in order to legally strike.
A strike has specific parameters. Some of which are: all members must be present at the picket line during the strike period, it is not time off; members are NOT paid for the days they are on strike; members cannot commit violent acts or even touch anyone who crosses the picket line; etc.
The strike is over only if the members agree via vote to end the strike.