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Teachers strike appears likely

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  • c slamon
    West Contra Costa teachers strike appears more likely than ever By Shelly Meron Contra Costa Times
    Message 1 of 33 , Sep 21, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      West Contra Costa teachers strike appears 'more likely than ever" By Shelly
      Meron
      Contra Costa Times<smeron@...?subject=ContraCostaTimes.com:
      West Contra Costa
      teachers strike appears 'more likely than ever''>
      Posted: 09/19/2009 03:55:03 PM PDT
      Updated: 09/20/2009 05:09:20 PM PDT

      Negotiations between West Contra Costa teachers and school district
      administrators seem to have stalled again, with the possibility of a strike
      "more likely than ever" and no date set for further talks.

      The two sides met last week, and neither seemed optimistic afterward.

      "They didn't particularly go anywhere," Pixie Hayward Schickele, president
      of the United Teachers of Richmond, said of the negotiations.

      A statement on the union's Web site said the district suggested a furlough
      of sorts, where "teachers will lose up to five days' pay, but would be
      expected to deliver the same number of instructional minutes for the school
      year."

      That could be accomplished by turning minimum days into full school days,
      district spokesman Marin Trujillo said.

      "We don't want to hurt the children more. Shortening the school year
      unilaterally would hurt them," he said.

      UTR's statement said the union told the district "that if a teacher loses a
      day's pay, the district must lose a day's service."

      here is the link to the entire article:
      http://www.contracostatimes.com/search/ci_13377478?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com&nclick_check=1


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    • Mark Wood
      Thanks Charley.  It all seems very technically doable to create a package of community generated ideas.  However, for this to work, we need constructive
      Message 33 of 33 , Sep 30, 2009
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        Thanks Charley.  It all seems very technically doable to create a package of community generated ideas.  However, for this to work, we need constructive input from the members of this group, the Community Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) and teachers, which includes: 
         
        1. People who are part of this group need to volunteer to participate, that they will commit to, at a minimum, look at the ideas and give some feedback, but preferably volunteer new ideas, talk to others to get new ideas and/or talk to others to obtain necessary information to refine the ideas;
         
        2. Members of the Community Budget Advisory Committee who are part of this group need to review the ideas and provide comments based on what they have learned from their committee work; and
         
        3. Teachers who are part of this group need to review the ideas and give their insight into whether the ideas are workable. 
         
        Your participation is needed if this is to be a collection of community based ideas that the two opposing sides will feel compelled to take seriously and thereby help avoid a strike. 
         
        Mark Woo


        --- On Tue, 9/29/09, Charley Cowens <charley.cowens@...> wrote:


        From: Charley Cowens <charley.cowens@...>
        Subject: Re: [wccusdtalk] Re: health coverage options - Help Charley Cowens
        To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 3:40 PM


        1. A free hosted Wordpress blog would allow you to create pages like a
        Web site CMS, upload files (except for XLS), and have controllable
        discussions through entry/comments with automated spam filtering. For
        collaboration on changing documents just use google docs. This is
        basically what CBAC is moving to. Other things you might look at are
        box.net and dropbox for file storage and maybe the lite version of
        huddle.net for collaboration. If you want to go the Wiki route, here's
        a list of free hosted ones:

        http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Starting_and_Running_a_Wiki_Website/Hosted_Wikis

        2. We started a program for this. CBAC has a permanent agenda item for
        hearing and providing feedback on (any) community budget-related
        ideas. You and Betsy Bashor were on the agenda for the first one.
        Anyone can contact me 2 weeks in advance to ask to be put on. (Oct. 8
        next deadline.)

        3. Because the teachers had an imposed contract, the District had to
        spell out the projected savings in the July 8th Agenda:

        Kindergarten Teacher Workday: $1.4M
        Relaxing Class Size Limits: $3.4M
        Changes in Transfer/Reassignment Rights: $0 (some canard about NCLB compliance)
        Changes in Current Employee Benefits $4.6M (for 1/2 of 09-10)
        Changes in Retiree Benefits $0 (savings in later years / estimate of
        change in total auditor-calculated liability $2B -> $374M)

        4. The committee can recommend proposals or request staff
        investigation. (They're sitting right there at the meeting.)

        For what it's worth, after you discussed your idea at the Board
        meeting and Harter then asked for you to be put on our agenda, Sheri
        Gamba (ASupe-Business Services) had done research on your proposal and
        was ready to talk about it.

        Charley Cowens
        http://www.twitter.com/ccowens



        On Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 1:55 PM, Mark Wood <fangwoo@...> wrote:
        > Interesting idea to have a parent/community generated counter-proposal.  Perhaps our twittering and blogging compatriot Charley Cowens is the best person to help on a few fronts, because of his tech know how and his work on the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC).
        >
        > 1. Is there a good online collaborative tool to get input into existing ideas and to solicit new ideas?
        >
        > 2. Can he help vet the ideas for their feasibility (i.e. won't work because: won't result in a budget savings, impossible to accurately project a budget savings that will be acceptable to the State monitor, will result in a new cost somewhere else, we don't actually pay for it, it won't result in a general fund savings, etc.)?
        >
        > 3. What is the amount of savings/new revenue that we are looking for to preserve employee health benefits?  retiree health benefits? (I assume that we're working on the belief that health benefits should be preserved to the greatest extent possible)
        >
        > 4. Should a package of proposals that is created have a Community Budget Advisory Committee vote on it - to recommend that the District investigate the proposals?
        >
        > Mark Woo
        >
        > --- On Tue, 9/29/09, tag1022 <tag1022@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > From: tag1022 <tag1022@...>
        > Subject: [wccusdtalk] Re: health coverage options
        > To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
        > Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 12:29 PM
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Mark,
        >
        > Is there any way to post your proposal for some form of mark up like a wiki? With Jim's analysis, and perhaps a few other knowledgeable contributors, we could have a solid policy proposal without waiting for overwhelmed staff to react.
        >
        > I've often thought WCCUSD needed a community think tank to create needed policy. Our existing institutions seem overwhelmed. We have abundant expertise in the WCCUSD area. If we all chip in a little, we can create reasoned policy ready to put before decision makers.
        >
        > Todd Groves
        >
        > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogro ups.com, Jim Cowen <jimcowen@.. .> wrote:
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >> As someone that sells group health insurance, I’d like to confirm Mark’s points.
        >>
        >> OPTING OUT WOULD RAISE RATES FOR THE REST
        >> The people that would opt out are those that are currently double covered.  Thus, currently WCCUSD  is paying full price for them, but the insurance carrier is paying only part or none of the actual cost of services provided.  Yes, when those folks opt out, it would mean eventually the insurance carrier would have to raise rates. But that means CalPERS would raise rates across the entire system, not just for WCCUSD.  So, in other words, right now WCCUSD is subsidizing all the other public agencies in CalPERS, and letting more teachers opt out would reduce that amount of subsidizing.  Mark’s graduated scale of pay for opting out is a FANTASTIC IDEA.  The district should be calling an emergency meeting to implement this.
        >>
        >> ONLY HEALTHY WOULD OPT OUT, LEAVING ONLY LESS HEALTHY IN THE PROGRAM
        >> There is some truth to this, called “adverse selection” in the insurance world.  The fear is that it would lead to future surcharges to the WCCUSD.   However, there are two things that temper the effect.  First, since generally the only ones that would opt out would have group coverage elsewhere (why would they ever pay for private coverage over the district’s covg), then the adverse selection is diminished.  In other words, the ability to opt out will not motivate people to go find other coverage. Either they will have other coverage thru a spouse or they will not, regardless of their health status.   Additionally, any effect would be insignificant in a pool the size of WCCUSD, and within the CalPERS pool.
        >>
        >> Another point is that CalPERS is not a very competitive program. WCCUSD would do far better looking at other plans that could easily save 20-40% and at the same time make the employees happier.  Small, private companies do this all the time, because they are driven by motivations that work:  lower costs improve the bottom line, AND happier employees improve the bottom line.
        >>
        >> Jim Cowen
        >> --- On Mon, 9/28/09, Mark Wood <fangwoo@... > wrote:
        >>
        >>
        >> From: Mark Wood <fangwoo@... >
        >> Subject: Re: [wccusdtalk] Re: health coverage & energy
        >> To: wccusdtalk@yahoogro ups.com
        >> Date: Monday, September 28, 2009, 11:03 AM
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >> I was hoping that more of the teachers that are part of this discussion group would be more active in discussing possible solutions to preserve their health benefits, and to raise them with their union leaders.  Since the District does not seem to be taking the initiative, it seems that the teachers will need to.
        >>
        >> Additionally, I have heard about the concern that by having more people opt out of health coverage there would be a remaining pool of people that are less healthy, and therefore insurers would raise rates.  I do not think this would happen for two reasons.
        >>
        >> First, it is my understanding that the District gets the CalPERS (California Public Employee Retirement System) negotiated rate.  This is a rate that CalPERS negotiates for many/most public agencies throughout California, hundreds of thousands of employees. Thus, the impact that the District's employees have on this large a pool of people is insignificant.  Now it is possible that my understanding of how the rates are negotiated is wrong, but it seems the potential benefit of maximizing the number of people who opt out means it should be confirmed.
        >>
        >> Second, there is an assumption that people who do not opt out would be less healthy.  People with an alternate source of health coverage are going to be those that are married and whose spouse has a job that also provides family health coverage.   You can probably make reasonable arguements that on both sides whether these people are more or less healthy, but my guess is that there wouldn't be a significant difference in the two groups health status.  Until there is some analysis of the demographic profile of these people, it is of course just a guess.  But if my first point is accurate about how rates are negotiated, then it is all a moot point.
        >>
        >> Finally, Francie's mention of opting out of dental and vision would create an even bigger possible savings for the District.
        >>
        >> Mark Woo
        >>
        >> --- On Sat, 9/26/09, Francie <fdkunaniec@ yahoo. com> wrote:
        >>
        >> From: Francie <fdkunaniec@ yahoo. com>
        >> Subject: [wccusdtalk] Re: health coverage & energy
        >> To: wccusdtalk@yahoogro ups.com
        >> Date: Saturday, September 26, 2009, 4:10 PM
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >> Adding to Mark's suggestions for ways to save:
        >>
        >> Health coverage - Local 1 employees who opt out receive $300 monthly. UTR negotiated the $75 monthly for its members. Also, UTR members who opt out are still required to take vision and dental coverage, even if it's not needed. I've brought this up to UTR and the response was that if members opt out, it may raise the cost for everyone who doesn't so they don't want to consider it.
        >>
        >> Energy - Other than the installation of solar panels at new sites, there hasn't been a district-wide push toward energy conservation. If there is one, it sure hasn't been publicized.
        >>
        >> Francie
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        > Yahoo! Groups Links
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