Please watch the video below and forward to your colleagues and friends. It is especially critical for those of you in Congressman Schrader or Congressman DeFazio’s districts. This is an ad NEA put together to help people understand the importance of educator jobs. You can also click here for more information. Phonelines are still open!
When Congress returns the week of June 7 the House Appropriations Committee will begin work on an emergency funding bill that include up to $23 billion for public education (with $265 million for Oregon). Make your voice heard!
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DISTRICT’S SETTLEMENT SUPPOSAL DISAPPOINTS
The bargaining teams met last night to discuss a settlement supposal developed by Dr. Radich and the Board. The supposal eliminated most of the onerous rollbacks in contract language and restored the current language of the contract. NEA had expected some movement on the financial proposal which did not happen. The District’s compensation package remained essentially the same: 0% increase on salary, 0% increase on insurance, delaying ½ of the step increase to January, and allowing the District to implement up to five furlough days.
This financial proposal is actually worse than what members would receive if we work without a contract. In that case, members would still get 0% on salary and insurance, but would receive a full step in August. The District also would not be able to unilaterally cut up to five days. This could result in a decrease in your salary of over 2.5%.
WHAT IS A SUPPOSAL?
In bargaining a supposal is a tentative proposal that one side or the other can offer with the expectation that it can be withdrawn if not accepted. This usually happens at the mediation stage of bargaining, but can be mutually agreed to at any time. The District called its package “Proposal 2” but later withdrew it from consideration. This means that the District is returning to its original proposal with the multiple rollbacks. Normally, a party is held to its most recent proposal in bargaining, but NEA will not try to enforce that requirement because we understood that the District was trying to move the process forward. NEA is also preparing a counter supposal to offer to the District on June 16. This will be a one-year package that tries to reduce the number of language items and to re-prioritize the financial proposals based on the most recent economic news.
DISTRICT OFFERS VEBA WITH NO INCREASE IN INSURANCE CAP
The Superintendent originally stated that the District had an idea to help members financially. NEA interpreted this to mean that the District was trying to find some money in the budget to offer some increase in insurance or salary. This did not happen. The District did offer a VEBA account connected to the ODS 9 medical plan.
A VEBA account is a version of a Health Savings Account (HSA) which can carry unused dollars forward from year to year. It must be an employer-paid benefit and is not taxed (similar to a Section 125 Plan or an HSA). It is limited to paying medical expenses, and cannot be used for dependent care (unlike a Section 125 Plan).
The District was encouraging members to use their insurance money (with no increase in the cap) to select the lowest cost insurance plan choice (ODS 9), and put the rest of the insurance money into a VEBA. NEA was disappointed with this approach, because it puts great financial risk on the membership. The ODS 9 Plan has a $1500 deductible for an individual and a $3000 deductible for a family. It also has a $5000 individual and $10,000 family out of pocket yearly maximum. This plan also includes pharmacy costs in the plan (also subject to the deductible). Most office visits and co-pays are at 20% rather than a flat dollar amount.
WHEN WILL THE FINANCIAL PICTURE IMPROVE?
There are currently three more immediate possibilities for improved state funding for schools:
- The Federal Government is considering a bill to save teachers’ jobs. This bill could bring in approximately $230 million for Oregon in 2010-11. This is approximately the same amount of money that was lost in the latest budget forecast and could mean around $2,000,000 for NSD. Visit this link for more information on this bill.
- The State Legislature may choose to come into session and relocate the budget to help schools. The Governor and many legislators are opposed to this. However, there may be growing pressure on the legislature to reconvene. There is also over $100 million in State reserves available to the legislature to budget towards schools.
- Future revenue forecasts could improve. We are halfway through the 2009-11 budget cycle. The legislature receives budget updates throughout this cycle. The next one is due in August. The State Economist does not expect robust growth, but does see many signs that the economy is improving.
DISTRICT SETTLEMENT SUPPOSAL IGNORES NEA PROPOSAL
Your bargaining team was not only disappointed with the District’s financial offer, we were also disappointed that the District chose not to incorporate a single NEA proposal in its offer. NEA Bargaining Chair Jonathan Dykema expressed this disappointment:
“If the District can’t respect us with an improved financial proposal, then there is a fair number of no-cost things that the members value.”
TEAMS DISCUSS BLEAK STATE REVENUE FORECAST
The planned bargaining agenda for Thursday night’s meeting was replaced with a discussion of the new state financial forecast. The May update surprised all involved when the State came out an additional half billion in the hole. The Governor has announced a 9-10% across the board budget cut for all agencies including schools. This would mean approximately a $2 million loss for the Newberg School District.
NEXT MEETING SCHEDULED JUNE 15
The bargaining teams will meet again on June 15 to explore whether a short-term (one-year) contract resolution is possible. Both parties agree that long-term agreements may be impossible in the current economic climate.
INSURANCE PLAN COSTS PASSED ALONG TO MEMBERS
OEBB announced an average insurance rate increase of 18% for 2010-11. These rate increases for medical plans varied from 10.5% for Kaiser and ODS 6 to over 26% for ODS 3 and Providence. In addition, OEBB made major changes in the plan design for most medical plans. There were increases in deductibles, copays, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums that were roughly equal to 7.5% of premium costs. These plan changes will shift costs (equally an average of roughly $75 per member per month) to members starting on October 1, 2010.
MEMBERS MAY NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD THE SAME INSURANCE PLANS
The District has proposed a 0% increase in its insurance contribution for 2010-2011. NEA is bargaining this provision and this amount will hopefully change. Nevertheless, the rates have increased so dramatically for some plans that members may no longer be able to afford them. The plans most impacted by these increases are the Providence and ODS 3 plans.
LOOK FOR AN INSURANCE SURVEY SOON!
The NEA Insurance Committee must select OEBB plan options by the end of June. We most likely will not have a settled contract by that date and will not know the final District insurance contribution for 2010-11. Therefore, the Committee will need your input on plan selection based on the current District proposal to freeze its contribution. Since some plan costs went up over 20%, members may no longer be able to afford plans such as Providence or ODS 3.
We will be sending each member an online survey to complete based on your current insurance plan choice. Please watch for this survey and respond.
MEMBERS EXPECTED TO LOSE BUYING POWER NEXT YEAR
Even though the District has managed to save reserves this past year, NEA anticipates that the State financial picture will continue to depress salaries and benefits for years to come. NEA’s initial salary proposal for 2010-11 was 1.95% even though inflation is running around 3%. In addition to not keeping up with inflation on salaries, members will have significantly less take-home money next school year after considering increased costs for insurance.
DISTRICT WANTS TO ADD ONE MORE CLASS AT HIGH SCHOOL
The District’s planning time proposal includes the following:
A. Planning time shall be scheduled within building hours and shall be used by members to prepare for instruction or other job-related requirements. Planning time shall not be used for personal business, recreation, exercising, coaching or other non-instructional related activities.
B. Each full time member employee shall have one regular period (a continuous block of at least 30 minutes per day) during a regular student day for planning. Note: The high schools A/B block schedule is equivalent to 2.5 student days. Members that work less than full-time shall receive prorated time.
C. Each full-time member shall have five (5) preparation periods weekly of the member’s school’s class time length during student contact time. These preparation periods shall not be less than thirty (30) continuous minutes. Members who work less than full-time will have their preparation time prorated.
C. Whenever possible, preparation periods shall be scheduled a minimum of one (1) period per
workday student day. Note: the current high school A/B Block Schedule constitutes 2.5 student days during a week.
It appears that the District’s proposal would give HS members planning time every other day. This would allow the District to add one more class (A or B block) and increase instructional minutes. The NEA proposal added language on instructional minutes to prevent the District from adding even more stress/workload.
HOME EMAIL ADDRESSES
NEA is using members’ home emails for bargaining briefs because we can communicate with you more quickly and it saves paper and copying costs.
Please update your home email to continue to receive updates over the summer. If you need to update your information or need help setting up a free email account, contact Mark Fredricks at email@example.com.
DISTRICT OFFERS LESS THAN 0%
At our first bargaining meeting last night, the District proposed a one-year package that would decrease members’ take home pay and significantly increase workload.
Highlights Lowlights of the proposal include:
- A 0% increase on salary.
- A 0% increase on the District’s insurance contribution.
- Delaying ½ of step increase from July 1, 2010 to February 2, 2011.
- Eliminating 1% longevity stipend.
- Adding funding clause allowing District to suspend all monetary provisions of the contract.
- Adding funding clause allowing District to cut contract days (create an unlimited number of furlough days).
- Reducing tuition reimbursement from six (6) to three (3) credit hours.
- Allowing District to avoid seniority in lay-offs.
- Increasing one student attendance day (grades 6-12).
- Adding one-half hour to the workday (increase workday to 8 ½ hours).
- Allowing District to increase instructional day up to ten (10) minutes a day with no right to bargain the change.
- Allowing District to regularly assign duties to members before and after school.
- Eliminating multiple extra-duty positions.
NEA President Jonathan Dykema told Dr. Radich that he was disappointed in the District’s rollback proposal. “This gives us no incentive to settle. We’re disappointed. After teachers gave days and delayed steps, this is frustrating.”
According to the Oregon Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA), the District would need to maintain the status quo if both parties did not settle. It would actually benefit members financially to not settle. Even though no settlement would not increase salary or the District’s insurance contribution, members would receive a full step in August, and most if not all of the other rollbacks would not be allowed. For example members at the top of the salary schedule would continue to get the longevity stipend and members would receive six hours of tuition reimbursement. The District would also not be allowed to unilaterally implement furlough days, increase the workday or instructional day, or start assigning duties to members.
DISTRICT AND ASSOCIATION PROPOSALS AVAILABLE TO YOU
NEA has added the complete District and Association bargaining proposals here on our website. We are also sending hard copies to every building, look for them later this week.
SIDE-BY-SIDE SUMMARY OF KEY PROPOSALS BEING PREPARED
NEA is preparing a side-by-side summary of the District and Association proposals. This will be organized by article, and show the most significant rollbacks proposed by the District, as well as changes sought by NEA. Look for it early next week.
NEA PROPOSES MODEST COMPENSATION PACKAGE
In line with your priorities to keep up with the cost of living, NEA proposed only modest increases in salary and insurance over three years. These increases were designed to keep up with rising costs in inflation and insurance premiums. NEA proposed a 1.95% increase in 2010-11.
For 2011-12 we proposed a cost of living increase plus 1%. For 2012-13 we proposed a cost of living increase plus 2%. This hopefully will have members keep up with inflation over the next three years.
For insurance, your team felt it was important to stop the cost shifting from the District to the member. Average insurance rate increases have been around 12% over the past ten years. Average increases for OEA members from 2009-10 to 2010-11 will be 17.3%. Whenever we get dollar cap increases less than the percentage increase the members’ portion of the cost sharing increases. To stabilize this over time, we proposed that the District contribute 85% of the cost of the OEBB ODS Plan 3 (plus ODS dental and vision) to members’ monthly premium costs. This would become the new yearly District contribution cap. Members would still be able to use this amount to purchase any insurance package offered to members.
DISTRICT AND NEA BARGAINING TEAMS TO MEET ON THURSDAY TO DISCUSS GROUND RULES
The NEA and District bargaining teams will meet for the first time this Thursday (May 6). We will only be discussing process issues such as ground rules. We are scheduled to exchange proposals on Monday,
STATUS QUO WILL BE MAINTAINED AFTER CONTRACT EXPIRES
Your contract expires on June 30. There is a good chance that we will not have a new contract settled by that date. If the contract is not settled by the beginning of the school year, state law requires that both parties maintain the status quo until bargaining timelines expire (see next page). During the status quo period salary and insurance payments will remain the same. Members will receive an experience step and may also receive education credits. Other contract provisions should remain unchanged until an agreement can be reached or the bargaining timelines expire.
OEBB ANNOUNCES MAJOR CHANGES IN PLAN DESIGN
Last week OEBB announced its plan changes for 2010-11. The plan changes are significant because they increase co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for our current plans. Unless we bargain a change, all of the burden for these additional costs would be covered by members. For example the out-of-pocket maximum for ODS 3 changed from $500 in-network/$1,500 out-of-network to $1,200 in-network/$2,400 out-of-network. Very few plans were left unchanged. Also the Kaiser 2 Plan will not be continued. However, the Insurance Committee could select one of two Kaiser Plans offered. Click here to view a PDF of a presentation of these plan design changes.
OEBB MEDICAL INSURANCE RATES GO UP FROM 8.26% TO 28.63%
OEBB received its rate renewal for plans. Overall members will see rate increase between 8.26% and 28.63%. The average increase for OEA members is 17.3%.
In Newberg the range of increases was from 10.53% for the Kaiser Plan to 27.07% for ODS 3. The rate increases are shown below.
MEDICAL AND PHARMACY:
ODS Plan 3 – 27.07%
ODS Plan 6 – 10.57%
Kaiser Plan 1 – 10.53%
Providence Plan 2 – 26.30%
ODS Plan 2 – 4.07%
ODS Ortho – 4.57%
Kaiser Plan 8 w/ortho – 4.71%
Willamette Dental 8 – 0%
ODS Vision 1 – 8.78%
Kaiser Vision 5 – 0%
INSURANCE PREMIUM COSTS TO SKYROCKET!
The chart below shows the current insurance plan costs selected by the NEA insurance committee, the anticipated premium costs for next year, and projected costs for 2011-12 and 2012-13 using an average increase of 12% each year. Increased out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket maximums would be above and beyond these costs.
BARGAINING SURVEYS BEING TABULATED
Thank you for returning your bargaining surveys. 3Valley Assistant Mark Fredricks is tabulating the results and creating a report for your bargaining team. Your team will use the information to make bargaining priorities and to help justify its proposals. If you still have a survey, please turn it in to your building rep. We will add the late surveys to the results and create an addendum report.
YOUR BARGAINING TEAM IS HARD AT WORK
Your bargaining team has been working for months creating a list of issues, holding focus groups, and creating the survey. We are developing our bargaining proposal. The team usually meets in the evening at Cindy Phelp’s house. Thank you Cindy for allowing us to invade your home. Cindy has also been generous with her time and cooking skills to prepare food for the team.
SUPERINTENDENT RADICH & NEA AGREE TO DELAY THE START OF BARGAINING
Our contract calls for an exchange of proposals to occur by the end of March. Both sides agree to extend this timeframe to better prepare after the election in January (BM 66 and 67). The delay has also been helpful to better understand the State financial picture. We should also expect to find out OEBB insurance rates in May.
BARGAINING SCHEDULED TO START ON MAY 17
Your team and the District have scheduled an exchange of bargaining proposals for Monday, May 17 at 4:00 pm. We will meet at the District Office. This exchange officially starts the 150 days of face to face bargaining outlined in the Oregon Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA). We have also scheduled a meeting on May 6 to discuss ground rules and the bargaining process. We have tentatively scheduled additional meetings on May 27 and June 3.