Brothers and sisters, we have been in contract negotiations with TAS for over a year with no progress. We are simply asking for wages that equal the city’s minimum wage. We are asking for sick days that allow us to care for ourselves and our children. We are asking for basic benefits like paid holidays. The holidays are here and for us, this means more hardship because we are not compensated for ANY holidays during the year.
On Monday, November 19, our bargaining committee met with TAS management and a mediator appointed by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to try and reach a resolution on our wages, sick days, and paid holidays. We met with a mediator because at our last bargaining session with TAS we reached an impasse in bargaining, meaning we can no longer make any progress and are willing to bring in a neutral, third party to help. However, even with the mediator, TAS refused to make any serious movement to reach a fair agreement. That is why our bargaining committee unanimously decided to proceed to fact-finding, the last step in the negotiations process. Read more about fact finding below.
We are asking for the fairness and respect we deserve. TAS CEO Johnathan Williams has responded with threats and insults. In fact, Johnathan Williams was scheduled to attend our meditation session, but he never bothered to show up.
It’s time to take a stand. It’s clear that TAS will just continue to stall and dig-in at the bargaining table. It’s time for us to take action to win the fair wages, sick days, and paid holidays we deserve. It’s time for TAS to truly invest in student services and in the community it serves. Stay tuned for more information.
SEIU Local 99’s Bargaining Committee at the Accelerated Schools (TAS)
Hilda Rodriguez-Guzman, Maria Macedo, Tere Ramos, Norma Acosta, Johnathan Chavez, Eva Barba
Fact-finding is when an impartial expert, selected by both our bargaining committee and TAS, determines the facts (wages, paid holiday leave, sick days, etc) under discussion, reviews the differences, and makes a recommendation for a settlement. The fact-finding panel is made up of a union member, management member, and a neutral chairperson appointed by PERB – usually someone with arbitration and fact-finding experience.
This varies widely. Fact finding must begin within 30-45 days after a written notice from the mediator. Then, both parties must submit their nominations and issues to be investigated. The “fact finder” then issues a report with a recommendation on how to settle the contract.
It is still up to our bargaining committee and TAS management to come to terms about a settlement. But because it is the final stage in the bargaining process, if there is no agreement after fact-finding, we can legally call for a strike. No one ever wants to strike, but it is the strongest action we can take as workers to make our voices heard.