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Bargaining Summit: Teacher leaders learn to advance their profession

11/21/2017

Nearly 100 educators representing school districts across the state volunteered their time Saturday, Nov. 18, to discuss ways they can better advocate for teachers and students as part of the 2017 UEA Bargaining Summit. The event was held at the Jordan School District Auxiliary Services Building in West Jordan.

“The Summit is an opportunity for teacher leaders from across the state to share best practices for working effectively with district administrators and school boards,” said UEA Director of Policy and Research Jay Blain. This marked the sixth year UEA has held a Bargaining Summit.

The Summit began with Ogden-Weber UniServ Director and Ogden Education Association bargaining team member Kim Beger discussing the importance of establishing rules and timelines for the negotiating process. Garfield School District Business Administrator Patty Murphy then provided an overview of Utah school budgets to help those on district bargaining teams understand the complexities of school finance. She explained the basics of Utah public education finance and how school district budgets are developed.

Breakout sessions at the Summit included the following:

  • Proposal Writing: How making formal proposals during the negotiations process helps with keeping a record of tentative agreements. Presented by Rod Hurd, Sevier School District and Jennifer Boehme, Jordan UniServ.
  • Types of Bargaining: The pros and cons of traditional and interest-based bargaining. Presented by Mike Mudrow, Logan School District and Curt Benjamin, Northern Utah UniServ.
  • Bargaining Resources: What to do when the district does not provide financial information or you want to check the information they do provide and sources for independent information and model policy language? Presented by Robyn Brown, Iron School District and Jay Blain, UEA.
  • Salary Schedule Structures: Differences, advantages and disadvantages of steps and lanes, single-lane, and salary increments. Presented by Jake Shewmake, Washington County School District; Jeanie Papiernik, Logan School District; Vicki Olsen, Jordan School District; Yvonne Speckman, Davis School District; Erika Bradshaw, Canyons School District; Rosalind VanVleet, Davis School District and Pat Riley, Davis UniServ.
  • Insurance: Differences in traditional, high-deductible, health savings account plans. Presented by Dan Rozanas, Canyons School District and Ron Firmage, Woodland Peaks UniServ
  • Communication: Effective ways to communicate within the local association during the negotiations process as well as external communication after ratification. Presented by Mike McDonough, Granite School District and Cindy Formeller, Granite UniServ.

UEA President Heidi Matthews and UEA Executive Director Lisa Nentl-Bloom led a session for all participants on bargaining philosophy and working for the good of the whole. “Because of this (Bargaining Summit) we will have the opportunity for stronger contracts and we can be stronger advocates for our members,” said Nentl-Bloom.

The meeting concluded with participants gathering in local negotiations teams to begin negotiations planning. “Participants left energized, engaged and educated about the bargaining process,” said Blain. “Our hope is that this event will give bargaining teams the tools they need to successfully advocate for their profession and for the collective good of public education in Utah.”

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