Over the past few weeks, discussions have been occurring throughout the District about MTI’s upcoming MTI Recertification Elections. One of the most frequently asked questions by newer staff, those who are not aware of MTI’s many accomplishments over the years is, “what is at risk if we lose the Union?”
To answer that question, one only needs to look around the State of Wisconsin to see what has happened in other school districts where employees no longer have a collective voice in the workplace.
- In many school districts, employers have increased employee health insurance premium contributions to 12%. Such an increase would decrease an employee’s pay between $61 and $212 per month, depending on the plan the individual has selected. Your Union is currently working with the District to collaboratively identify potential sources for health insurance savings rather than implementing a premium co-pay. The five Contracts for MTI represented employees do not now mandate any employee contribution toward health insurance.
- For teachers who are new parents, MTI’s Contract provides paid time off during maternity leave via a combination of personal sick leave and Sick Leave Bank benefits. Non-probationary teachers also have the Contract right to take unpaid child rearing leaves of absence for a semester, a full school year, or up to two school years should they need or desire to stay home with their child(ren) for a period of time regardless of the child’s age. Those rights could disappear or erode without a Union to advocate for them.
- For longtime teachers, educational assistants, clerical-technical staff and security assistants approaching retirement, MTI’s Contracts provide retiring employees with 100% of the value of their accumulated sick leave for the payment of post-retirement insurances. Many school districts have capped or reduced such benefits, forcing longtime employees to work longer in order to afford post retirement insurance premiums.
- Other school districts have added classes to the workday (without additional pay); extended the work year (without additional pay); required mandatory evening obligations (without additional pay); reduced benefits for disabled employees; eliminated planning time; pro-rated insurance benefits based on part-time status; eliminated just cause and due process protections against unfair discipline or dismissal; and destroyed salary schedules.
MTI encourages all represented employees to spend a few moments to page through their Collective Bargaining Agreement to see the entirety of the issues that the Union has negotiated for them over the past decades. Any or all of those negotiated items would be subject to employer discretion or whim without a Union as your collective voice.
Standing together, we can continue to advocate for working conditions/learning conditions that educational employees and students need. Voting to recertify is the first step towards maintaining your collective voice at work.