MTI (Madison Teachers, Inc) Red Fills Doyle Auditorium; Bargaining to Begin

Madison Teachers, Inc. Solidarity Newsletter, via a kind Jeannie Kamholtz email (PDF):

Board of Education meetings on May 12 and 15 were a sea of red, as MTI members produced an overflow crowd, calling for Contract negotiations for the 2015-16 school year. Numerous MTI members, supported by four past-presidents on the Board of Education, State Representatives Melissa Sargent, Dianne Hesselbein and Chris Taylor, spoke to the Board. Congressman Pocan sent a strong statement of support for MTI which was read into the record by Rep. Sargent.

Rep. Sargent also read into the record a petition calling for negotiations. It was signed by Senators Jon Erpenbach, Mark Miller, Fred Risser and Representatives Sargent, Hesselbein, Taylor, Pope, Berceau and Kahl. The petition stated, in part:

“We all share a common interest in making sure every child has access to a quality public education and in supporting our teachers’ efforts to create the best public schools in the state and nation. When teachers are prohibited from coming to the bargaining table, our public school children and schools suffer. Our teachers’ firsthand experience in the classroom gives them a unique perspective in developing best practices and firsthand knowledge of the needs of our public school children.

In Dane County, we have seen 50 years of positive and productive labor relations. This benefits our children and helps create strong schools and communities. Positive employee relations are developed, in part, through the collective bargaining process where employers and employees create the best possible working environment together. Unfortunately, Act 10 eroded the ability to negotiate in good faith.

Guaranteeing that teachers have a voice in what goes on in their classrooms is critically important in ensuring every child is learning in the best possible environment.”
Congressman Pocan’s statement, in part, follows: “Employees are the most important component to the success of any employer, and working with these unions makes good sense, as the employees have the institutional knowledge of the operation. Collective bargaining is an opportunity to address important issues together.”

Also stepping up to the plate in calling for negotiations was the District’s Student Senate. Led by Student BOE representative Luke Gangler (Memorial), they submitted a petition to the Board which stated, in part, “… Whereas, international courts and human rights organizations have since identified collective bargaining as a fundamental right of workers; and Whereas, the right of school staff to collectively bargain has a direct impact on the learning environment of students … Resolved, that the MMSD Student Senate recommend that the MMSD Board of Education approve extensions of employee contracts with MTI, AFSCME, and the Building Trades Council through 2015-16.”

Bargaining will begin today. Those represented by MTI, in all five bargaining units, are reminded to watch the MTI website and MTI Facebook for an urgent call to a Contract ratification meeting. Notice will be sent to all members for whom MTI has a personal email address. Notice will also be sent to the members of all MTI Boards of Directors & Bargaining Committees, MTI Faculty Representatives and EA-MTI Building Representatives.
The presentations to the Board can be viewed on the District’s website.

I wonder if parents have used the “crowd a meeting” tactic successfully? Fascinating.