NTA Negotiations Update #2 2019-2020



Parties Reach Agreement on Ground Rules and Norms

Association Provides Initial Proposals on Three Articles

 This is Newark Unified School District’s (NUSD) second Negotiations Update for 2019-2020 contract negotiations between the District and the Newark Teachers Association (NTA). The District will distribute the Negotiations Update after meetings with NTA to inform our community on the progress of negotiations.

Bargaining teams for NUSD and NTA held their first negotiations session for the 2019-2020 school year on May 17, 2019. Highlights of the meeting are as follows.

Parties Reach Agreement on Ground Rules and Norms: The parties agreed the primary purpose of this first meeting was to agree on “how to do business” this round of negotiations. The parties reviewed “Ground Rules” and norms they have used successfully in past years. After adding several modifications suggested by NTA, the parties reached agreement on and signed this document.

In addition to logistical matters (e.g. identification of chief spokespersons, format of official proposals, dates and locations of meetings, agenda setting, joint commitment to support ratification of tentative agreements, etc.), the agreement includes the following ground rule and “code of conduct” the bargaining teams will follow in negotiations:

Regardless of the level of intensity and/or emotion and/or commitment related to the subject matter under discussion at any given time, members of both bargaining teams pledge to be courteous and respectful in speech and in manner at all times, and to attack the issues and not each other or each other’s constituencies.

 Code of Conduct

  • No side conversations
  • Freedom of movement
  • Maintain an open mind to an individual’s ideas
  • Begin and end on time
  • Engage in active listening
  • Discuss topics and items objectively, not personally
  • Requests for information pertinent to negotiations will be honored in a timely manner
  • Limit hearsay; check assumptions
  • Keep discussion of non-agenda, non-interest-related items to a minimum

The parties further agree all participants will strive to:

  • Be willing to take risks;
  • Be intellectually engaged;
  • Be honest and forthright; and
  • Be role

NUSD and NTA also agreed that each would communicate separately with their respective constituencies unless they decide to issue joint communications at appropriate times.

Association Provides Initial Proposals on Three Articles: NTA was well-prepared for the first bargaining session and requested to begin providing the District with formal proposals immediately following the Ground Rules agreement. The time remaining allowed NTA to present proposals on and “walk through” three full contract articles as follows:

Recognition: NTA proposes to add behaviorists and occupational therapists to the bargaining unit (currently these positions are in NEWMA) and to have the District consult with the Association at least ten days before posting a newly created bargaining unit position.

Association Rights (Agency Fee and New Employee Orientations): NTA proposed to modify this article to comply with the recent Janus decision which found “agency fee” provisions (requiring non-union members to pay representation fees to unions) to be unconstitutional. NTA also proposed language in response to new California laws which guarantee union access to District new employee “onboarding” orientation meetings and specify unit member contact information districts must provide to their unions.

In addition, NTA proposes to clarify and potentially expand the District’s duty to “consult” with NTA on educational and curriculum-related subjects already specified in the contract.

Work Year: Changes proposed by NTA include:

  • Allow specified non-classroom employees with longer work years than teachers to perform such work on additional days or in hour equivalents during the teacher work year. For example, a unit member with ten extra days (196 day work year) could elect to allocate this extra time by working the extra days and/or extra hours during the regular 186 day work
  • Include the placement of finals/conference days, minimum days and professional development days within the scope of calendar committee negotiations over the unit member work
  • Remove site administrators’ discretion currently allowed by contract to call, on the first teacher work day, “a voluntary one hour site meeting which unit members may choose to attend at their own ”

Next Steps: The parties:

  • Confirmed their next meeting dates and locations: June 5 (at Eden CTA Office) and 6 (at the District Office);
  • Set the agenda for the next two meetings; and
  • Each declared their preference to send out separate negotiations