Recording Secretary Report-12/14/2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016                                                                         3:15-5:15

Starting Time: 3:19                                                                  Adjournment Time: 5:10



  1. Presentation of Agenda
  2. Welcome
  3. Guest Speakers
  4. President’s Remarks
  5. Consent Agenda (Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Grievance, and PAL Reports)
  6. Treasurer Reports
  7. Old Business
  8. New Business

Thanks members for attending. It shows that we are willing to be active members in the organization.

Thank Kathy Abood for providing refreshments.

Agenda passed without objection


Guest Remarks (Julie Spencer Robinson, Northampton Association of School Employees President)

Member agreement, as well as School Committee agreement, is required for release time.

Running an organization successfully is difficult on top of full time teaching.

They got aid through the MTA to provides financial assistance towards partial or full time release president.

The money is provided prior to getting approval from members and school committee.

Northampton has half the membership, but twice the attendance at board meetings.

It allows for proactive presidents rather than reactive to emergencies.

The union is a great opportunity to bring teachers’ voice to policy without becoming administration.

She has helped to improve teacher designed and driven PD.

She has helped to foster communication with school committee and productive use of subcommittees.

She actively pursued grants and programs to improve education for all.

She was able to actively and frequently communicate with the MTA and all members, facilitating communication and follow up at all levels.

It has revolutionized bargaining as she’s been able to obtaining training and funding for interest-based bargaining.


Guest Remarks (Ann Hennessey, Northampton School Committee Member)

Agrees with all that Julie had said.

School Committee gets significantly less complaints and grievances.

As supervisor of grievance chair and president, she has seen the amount of work these jobs take and the impact that it has on students.

It is a win for students (will have a dedicated teacher), members (then get significant increase in communication), school committee (decrease in complaints), and president (can focus on doing the best for the job).

A 3-year grant paid for 1 year and helped to provide stipends for delegates. An increase in dues have helped to maintain this program beyond the grant.

MOA with school committee allows for paying of replacement as well as maintaining PTS status.

They wanted to ensure that any of 7 units (includes teachers, administration, vocational, clerks, cafeteria workers, custodians, etc.) can be president. There is possibility for co-presidents.

It alleviates work from other committees as the president can do a lot of the brunt work. She has time to set her leaders up for success.


Grievance Report

No comments for Grievance Chair


Treasurer Report

Reimbursed teachers via MassChild

We’re still breaking even in terms of costs/gains.

She reminded that if full time release is a long term goal it would raise dues.

Jason motioned to accept, James seconded. Passed without objection


Old Business

2nd Reading Bylaw Amendment: Release Time for the Association President – Second reading of the proposed bylaw amendment.

Floor is open to comment and discussion.

Chuck passed out a sheet explaining the dues impact over 4 years. This sheet shows the high cost. It was calculated by percentage increase.

It was asked if the stipend would go away. As this is not in the proposal, the president’s stipend would go unchanged.

The language says that it is part time or full time release so it can be flexible and evolve.

The release time would be reduced to 3 periods instead of 5 with no duties.

Chuck stresses that this is the first local dues increase in living memory. Northampton is at the bottom, paying ~$100.

Clarified that the duty in current language refers to duties as part of teaching assignment, such as hall duty.

The current language grants release time as needed, which makes it inflexible as we are teachers first and that is where our priorities lay.

The money is for replacement cost of the teacher, not a raise for the teacher.

Dues increase has been prorated rather than flat rate to all Units. This will lead to all members paying their fair share and not hurt those educators who make the least.

President is a stressful position, and currently many do not see any benefit from the job as it is. Looking to the future, the job is not getting any easier. Change is needed. We need to support our moneymaker!

There is agreement with the change that the job demands. There is a question about accountability.

There will still be 2 co-vice presidents.

There was a concern about how the details of salary might affect voting.

More support for this amendment.

It will affect voting positively as it will hopefully lead to informed voters and encourage younger members to get involved in the union.

There is a worry about where the numbers came from. It came from worst case scenario from Steve Nembirkow. It is paying for a full time teacher even though there would only be a need for a half time teacher.

There is a worry about the current practice of a released from duty disappearing.

If they hire a full time teacher, it is hoped that they this will also reduce class size at that level.

Rege would be supportive of this amendment, currently there is the possibility of a year sabbatical with later revisitng.

Elementary teachers would be dealt with through job-sharing.

NEA worries that by 2018-2019 school year that the Agency fee will be removed. We need to be proactive organizers to support unions through this and other national problems.

The time commitment is exorbitant and this should help to alleviate this for members with families.

The language should be accommodating for all Units. Language will be tweaked as it is agreement is negotiated. The intention is to pay cost of replacement regardless of Unit.

Conversations with School Committee need to occur when running. Language clarified that the reimbursement is for the replacement.

There is a voice that we lost last time because there was too much. This should be a priority.

Michele Foley called for a vote. (Yes: 16, No: 2) Motion Passes


Holiday Party – Donna Conroy and Kathy Abood have been working hard. 222 of ~1100 members have responded through the survey so far.


CEA Negotiations Update – All four Units are in negotiation. Phone banking our membership on 1/4/2017 and 1/10/2017. It will be more like a conversation, training and food will be provided. It will get members involved in the negotiation process and ensure attendance of all Units on general meeting on 1/18/2017.

Unit B has some tentative agreements.

Unit D is awaiting SC response.

Unit E doesn’t want to talk about it as they won’t talk about money

Unit A thinks that we can interpret from the urgency of the January meeting when we can discuss it.

All Units will be presenting at the January 18 meeting and we’ll be presenting the big pictures for all.


Bylaw Revision – Tabled until next meeting.


New Business

CEA General Meeting – Wednesday, January 18, 2017, CHS Theater. The purpose is to inform membership of negotiations and its progress.


Grievance Procedure MOA – This document will help to enforce the results of grievances. Jake called for a vote (Yes: 16, No: 0) Motion passed.


DESE Visit – It is an annual visit to districts and they say it is irrelevant to the looming level 4 status. Chuck apologized that Unit B members were unable to attend the meeting.

There were similar comments from both high schools concerning leadership and communication.

The middle school was also very productive and well attended. A major discussion was concerning the use of the evaluation tool, which is a district-wide problem.

Elementary schools were not well attended, but received well and fostered good discussions.

This report will be a public document and the URL will be provided. Hopefully the district will take action on it, but there is no specific enforcement.

Some suspicion about the investigator’s credibility after commenting about not seeing differentiated instruction, especially from a member of the Differentiated Instruction Committee.

There is also concern about the timing of the observations.


Change at 180 Broadway – Steve Nembirkow will be moving to CT and leaving in Feb. CHS principal Joyal will be taking part of the job. There is some worry that he will be part time for the job as the school is attempting to turn around. This may be a promotion to avoid Level 4 removal of administrator.


MassChild – There is some, but not much, money left.


Next meeting at Chicopee High School, Theater, January 18