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November 30, 2023



We hope that you had a great fall break!


We are thankful for your support as we continue to work on negotiating a contract that addresses our prioritized issues.




EPEA NEWS:

NEGOTIATIONS:

To date, 87 districts have settled contracts with their teacher’s unions. And, to date, the average year one percentage for salary improvement is 4.5%; 3.3% for year two. This does not take into account other improvements that can have financial impact (health insurance contributions, TSA matches, longevity benefits, etc).


The negotiations team had three interactions with the district this month. The main components that remain sticking points are as follows: workload conditions that allow educators to reach each student within our duty day, safe environment for students and staff to engage in each day, and fair compensation that attracts and retains highly qualified educators.


The negotiations team will meet December 6th to strategize a big push to reach a tentative agreement. In conjunction with the work at the bargaining table, EPEA action steps are key!

ACTION STEPS:

You may be hearing surrounding local unions in surrounding district engaging in action steps to bring about awareness and communicate desires for a favorable contract negotiations. To this point we have employed wearing our EPEA shirts on Wednesdays, and using a Profile Frame to show support for EP teachers. However, it is time to step up awareness and resolve.


In order to make the most effective next steps, the EPEA Stand United! Core Action Team has met to plan, schedule, and organize upcoming action steps to gain support in our efforts to bring favorable results in negotiations. Education Minnesota is walking alongside our Action Team and are guiding our steps in ensuring meaningful communication and effective next steps.


In order to receive updates about these next steps, your current personal email is needed for in-person invites and secured messaging. If you or a fellow EPEA member has a need to update your personal email address, please connect with Dominic Kirkpatrick


Each building will have Action Team leads who will support actions and deliver key information. You can expect to see communication for next steps the week of December 4th. Check your personal email towards the end of next week. We must all be united to be effective! Thank you for Being the Union!



EPEA STAFF:

Insurance Committee:

Each year the EPEA is represented by three teachers on the Insurance Committee. Max Ginsberg (P-5), Michelle Rada (6-Tassel), and Dominic Kirkpatrick represent the educators. All other bargaining groups have 1 representative participating. According to our current contract (Article X: Group Insurance), our district contributes $756/mo towards single medical coverage, $1,013/mo towards family medical coverage, and $76.65/mo towards dental coverage. The remaining premium is to be borne by the employee. As the district goes out for insurance bids soon, the Insurance Committee will be monitoring closely what may happen to premiums for the 24-25 school year. Following is the timeline for which the Insurance Committee will be making its recommendations: 12/29/23: Request for Insurance Providers to Bid on EPS Medical/Dental Plan 1/22/23: All proposals due 2/14/23: Insurance Committee reviews proposals 2/15/23: Additional bid requests to top proposals 2/27/23: Revised bids due 3/13/23: Insurance Committee makes recommendation of which carrier will best serve 3/25/23: School Board acts on recommendation 4/19/23: Open Enrollment for new plan 7/01/23: New Plan year begins



CONTRACT 101:




GUIDANCE from YOUR MEMBER RIGHTS ADVOCATE:

If you are in need of support at an administration meeting, believe there is a contract violation, or have a performance/conduct-related support request, please connect with Carla Thompson (Lead MRA) cthompson@edenpr.org or 952-240-6577)


UPDATE from EDUCATION MINNESOTA:

Upcoming Trainings (Apple Valley Office):

This training program provides union leadership skills, abilities, and philosophy. There are three highlighted sessions, for which one or more who aid The sessions are designed independently from each other so, you may choose to participate in one or all three sessions.


Please join us for an update on Education Minnesota's Pension Advocacy Plan and to find out how you can join the team to advocate for better pensions for educators! Light Snacks and beverages provided. Registration limit of 80.

Education Minnesota Apple Valley Field Office

6950 146th Street W., Suite 112

Apple Valley, MN 55124


Member Rights Advocacy is training that develops the knowledge and skills to assist other members in understanding their rights and resolving conflicts using a variety of strategies. This training will focus on understanding the role, responsibilities, and rights of representation. MRA will help you develop mindful strategies when responding to problems, recognize biases and prejudices of effective listening, and work to build stronger relationships with all members of your local.


Race talk, along with the expression of strong, intense emotions, is often discouraged in the classroom. This session will provide space and language for educators to learn and talk about three common barriers to opening discussions about racism in our schools. Our hope coming out of this session is that participants will have the tools to label their own barriers to talk about race and some tools to help us all move forward.


MEMBER BENEFITS:

Check out the PerksConnect Benefits from Education Minnesota! For those who are hoping to find local or national discounts for upcoming purchases, there are hundreds of opportunities worth checking out through the following link: https://edmn.perksconnection.com/home.

Discounts for Disney Vacations, Costco Memberships, Omaha Steaks, GE Applicances, SnapFitness, Tax Preparers, Florists, Spa Services, Pizza, Restaurants, Pet supplies, insurance, childcare, entertainment, etc. are available via your EPEA membership.


Other Member Benefits:

HAPPENINGS from the SCHOOL BOARD:

The Dec. 11th school board meeting will highlight the topic of “Truth in Taxation.” The School Board and public will hear about upcoming taxation increases and be able to ask questions/make comment for further understanding. If you happen to be a resident of Eden Prairie, you are encouraged to attend! An update about what was communicated at that meeting will follow in the Dec. 15th newsletter.


Agendas, materials, and videos from past school board meetings can be located using the Link to Past School Board Agendas.



IT IS WORTH REPEATING:

We are seeking 2 event planners to help execute 2 member events in January and April/May. If this is something that feeds your soul, we look forward to having your enthusiasm and organizational skills employed to create two wonderful events for EPEA. A stipend accompanies this position. If you have additional questions, please reach out to Dominic Kirkpatrick.


Thank you for continuing to wear your EPEA swag on Wednesdays! More action items will be shared soon! The EPEA staff is here to support you. If you have any concerns or questions, please reach out to your building site representative.


"We learned about gratitude and humility that so many people had a hand in our success." -Michelle Obama


In Solidarity,

Dominic Kirkpatrick, EPEA President

Charles Cooper, EPEA Vice President

Brent Bovitz, EPEA Treasurer

Jessica Premo, EPEA Secretary











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