First the good stuff...Today is a flex day for high school. Contact your admin if you flex. Tomorrow is a flex day for all, but you don’t have to tell a soul. Confused? Good, because I was yesterday. Just get your 17 gifts (all coffee mugs by the way) and yourself in your car 15 minutes after dismissal. When we return on Monday, January 6, that’s also TP Day for all. Notify your admin if you flex that day. 3 flex days in a row! We are rollin’!
I remember when I became involved in the union. I worked at McParland and my kids went to school with me. We lived about 3 blocks away. I was transferred (which is fine, whatever, it happens). My principal was out on sick leave due to cancer. The VP became acting principal, and a teacher became acting VP. The acting VP taught the same subjects I did. So it was either her or I. Guess who made the decision? The acting VP. Conflict of interest? Slightly. So I contacted the late Earl Pimental and he scheduled a meeting with Marc Tatum. I heard recently that Marv passed 2 months ago. Earl and Marv were great people. As I told Marv my story, his eyes got wider and wider. He said, “Ken I’m going to give you a chip. And when you WANT to transfer, you turn in that chip.” In two weeks, Marv called me and said, “Your old job opened up. Do you want it back?” The acting VP was made a VP at another school. What a coincidence.
I was lucky. My kids were lucky. But I called Earl to start the process. He was supportive and encouraging...and my case was pretty darn powerful. Only 11% of workers have a union to help them. Working together to guarantee rights at the workplace is what we do IF you take advantage of it. “Well, I don’t want to rock the boat and cause further problems for me.” I can’t help you unless you help you. Bullies won’t pick on the ones that bloody their nose.
Now...you’re saying...what does this have to do with me? Teachers are always complaining, and rightfully so, about their pay. Almost always, strangers on the street tell me I should be making a lot more. (Secret tip...I talk to everyone I meet.)
Now you can give yourself a 5% raise. Get signatures on those petitions over the holidays. If that petition passes, it’s 5% for every school district in the state. And let me brag about our bargaining team...they are the envy of every local in the county. “You got 85% of COLA for 3 years without any argument?” Yup. That’s how we roll in MEA. So...do yourself a favor and give yourself a raise. Otherwise, you can’t complain about your pay because you had a chance to fix it. It’s just like not voting.
It’s not about being greedy…it’s about trying to lure and retain the best and the brightest to Manteca Unified. And frankly…it’s working. We’ve convinced the school board and the administration this is the right approach. Even getting two signatures on a petition is worth it! Every little bit helps just like you tell the students!