Volume XXXVI, No. 8 April 15, 1999


For some months, the PCT has been ready to begin negotiations with the school district for new contracts for the teacher, clerical and substitute units of our union. All of our contracts with the district expire on July 1, 1999.

We have finally received word from the district that they will be prepared to exchange demands on Monday, April 26, 1999.

In our last round of negotiations, the PCT and the district concluded new agreements prior to the end of the school year. This was the first time this had been accomplished in the district’s history. Both sides are challenged to see if we can duplicate our efforts and allow staff to go off for vacation knowing that new contracts are in place.


At their meeting of March 29, 1999, the POB Board of Education adopted a budget for the 1999-2000 academic year. The budget of approximately 66 million dollars preserves all existing programs and will impact the tax rate by about $2.98 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation.

Just prior to the Board’s adoption of the budget, a motion was passed striking the Superintendent’s proposed addition of an assistant principal. The PCT had strongly opposed the inclusion of this and three other administrative positions in the budget.

Unfortunately, the proposed budget does nothing to deal with the historically high class sizes members are currently facing.

The budget will be before the electorate on Tuesday, May 18, 1999. Also on the ballot will be a referendum which if passed would provide bus transportation to every student in the district. Additionally, two members of the Board of Education will be elected. The terms of incumbents Sharon Dinkes and Michael Stern will expire on July 1, 1999.



Immediately after the spring recess, the Political Action Committee of the PCT will begin its annual fundraising drive. It is through the PCT/PAC Fund that the political activities of our organization are financed. Dues money is not used for political action.

Political action is a vital part of the activity of our union. In May, there will be an election for members of the Board of Education, the Library Board and a vote on the 1999/2000 school and public library budgets. It is essential that the PCT take a position. To do so requires money.

The recommended contribution for teachers is $10.00. CUPCT and POBLA unit members are asked to contribute $5.00.



For several years Bob Chase, President of the National Education Association (NEA), has been preaching what he calls "the new unionism" to membership of the NEA. His counterpart at the American Federation of Teachers, Sandra Feldman, has also been talking about a new way of conducting labor management relations in the school districts of the nation. Both often allude to the Saturn plant of the General Motors Corporation (GM) where some years ago the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and GM negotiated what was seen as a groundbreaking agreement whereby labor and management agreed to work collaboratively in the running of the plant. The union took less pay than workers in other GM plants in exchange for some incentives that gave them the possibility of making more if the Saturn Division did well.

Amid charges by the union of GM’s failure to abide by this historic agreement, the union recently held its officer elections. The result was a new leadership team dedicated to a more adversarial kind of unionism. The much publicized Saturn workers appear to be saying "nuts" to the new unionism.

We are left to wonder how long it will be before the membership of the NEA sees the light.



The myth that teachers work less than people in other professions has been challenged by a recent study done by Daniel Hecker for the Bureau of Labor Statistics who studied the average weekly work hours of people in more than sixty professions.

Hecker found that elementary and secondary school teachers work an average of 44-45 hours per week. A third of the teachers work in excess of 45 hours per week. Lawyers average 2-3 hours per week more, while engineers and computer systems analysts work fewer hours.


Teacher members contemplating retirement at the end of this school year are reminded that in order to be assured of receiving payment of 1 day’s pay for every 3 days of accumulated sick leave in the first payroll in July, the district must receive notice of your intention to retire by May 15, 1999.

The district’s interpretation of our contract is that while they must ultimately pay for unused sick time, unless they are notified by May 15 of the year of retirement, they do not have to make payment until July of the following year. While the PCT does not agree with this interpretation, members are advised that if they must have this money upon retirement they should meet this deadline because arbitrating (grieving) this issue could take many months. Also, to count in a five year final average salary computation, monies must be earned prior to January 1, 2000.

Members having questions about this clause in the PCT contract are advised to call the PCT Office.


In case you haven’t noticed, the number of people in the United States without medical insurance is growing again. Estimates vary, but it appears to be certain that some 40,000,000 people in this richest of countries is without access to quality medical care. We came across the following information on when the governments of other nations found their way to provide health care for all. We thought you would be interested.

Germany- 1883


New Zealand-1938


United Kingdom-1946









South Africa-1996

When will our elected representatives have the courage to enact legislation to provide coverage to all of our citizens. We are substantially richer than any of the nations on this list. How can they do it, and we can’t.


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