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October 31, 2023



We hope that everyone had a restful MEA!


Thank you for continuing to wear your EPEA swag on Wednesdays as we stand united!




EPEA NEWS:

Oct. Negotiations Survey:

At the time this message is written, over 55% of our membership has participated in the October Negotiations Survey. Thank you to those who took the time to provide additional insight, experiences, data, and preferences to help direct the negotiations team in their push to advocate for the remaining items on the table.


October Negotiations Update:

Negotiators met with the District on October 25th. Negotiators were hopeful for great movement from the district that demonstrates it takes our concerns for workload and safety seriously. Currently, the district would like to continue workload conversations through committee work instead of contract language. The negotiations team continues to Stand United! and press for language improvements that will positively impact our working conditions... even if it means negotiations takes a bit longer. Overall, we are making baby steps toward the remaining key issues.


To date, 64 districts have tentative agreements with their teacher unions. Mounds View is the newest metro area/adjacent district to report a tentative agreement. All reported updates can be found at Education Minnesota (requires EdMn login) https://educationminnesota.org/report/unofficial-salary-schedule-increase-data-current-round-of-bargaining/


PreSchool Unfair Labor Practices:

Despite the legislation and BMS order signifying that Preschool teachers are under the EPEA contract as of July 1, 2023, the District continues to not recognize Preschool teachers under the EPEA contract in the areas of salary, benefits, and QComp participation. The EPEA continues to press for a different behavior through all means available. In the meantime, please extend your support around these educators who have additional burdens right now. Much thanks for the support of Lower Campus Paraprofessionals who visibly support teachers each Wednesday.


Seniority List:

Albeit a bit tardy, the Seniority List is now available for review. You have 15 days to review the list for accuracy. In the event future layoffs must occur, accuracy in your hire date and your licensure area(s) are crucial. Please check the following:

  • Hire date accuracy

  • Seniority date accuracy

  • Full Name accuracy

  • Licensure area(s) accuracy

  • Current assignment accuracy

If an error is discovered on the seniority list, according to our contract, you must “supply written documentation, proof, and request for seniority change to the school district.” There are a few new legislative actions that may apply to some teachers which could support documentation if you believe you have found an error.

Those who have taught in another state or charter school previously for at least 3 years:

Sec. 45. Minnesota Statutes 2022, section 122A.40, subdivision 5, is amended to read: (f) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a teacher who has taught for three consecutive years in a single school district or single charter school in Minnesota or another state must serve a probationary period of no longer than one year in a Minnesota school district. This section is effective for collective bargaining agreements effective July 1, 2023, and thereafter.


STAND UNITED! Action Team:

EPEA Secretary Jessica Premo is calling the Action Team together during the week of Nov. 6th to set the plan for our future actions to support our Negotiations efforts. Those who have indicated they are willing to be an Action Leader will receive a Zoom invite in the near future. When the Stand United! Team provides all members with the next steps, it is important that we all follow the Do’s and Dont’s carefully so that we make the most effective moves in the most protected ways possible.


STAND UNITED! Action #2: Change your personal social media profile frame.


INSTRUCTIONS: CREATING PROFILE FRAME:

  1. Close annoying pop-up ads

  2. Click on “Choose a photo” (Tip: pre-save a photo on your computer desktop so it is easy to find)

  3. Once you have the photo looking the way you want it, click "next".

  4. Then click "download"

  5. Add this pic with your new frame to facebook etc.


DO’s and DONT’s of USING THE FRAME:

  1. Can I share the frame with others? Yes, if someone asks to use it (your relatives, friends, community who ask) you can provide the link (via your personal account/device)

  2. Who made the frame? Friends of EP Teachers made the frame

  3. What can I say when someone asks about the meaning of the frame online? “The frame is a sign of support for all the PreK - Tassel teachers, nurses, counselors, school psychologist, school social workers, interventionists, PTs, OTs, etc. who are currently working toward a fair contract.”

  4. What if someone asks why teachers do not currently have a contract? “The teachers are standing firm on contract items that directly affect the students they serve: reasonable workload expectations to meet the needs of students, safe working and learning conditions for all within the schools, and fair compensation in order to keep teachers in the profession.”

  5. Can I just put a link on my personal facebook page for the public to gain access? No, this is not advisable. If your friends/family (who are not district employees) want to share publicly... the Friends of EP Teachers would encourage that.

EPEA Ambassador and Party Planners Needed:

As a result of being awarded a new grant, the EPEA has monies to strengthen our unity, bring on more members and celebrate together. Therefore, we have two paid position titles (multiple positions for each title) we are looking to fill.

  1. EPEA Ambassador: This position role involves 1:1 connections with newer employees within our bargaining unit to speak to the importance of membership. Genuine conversation will highlight the employee’s interests, goals, and reasons for not yet joining the union married with motivators of why some many find membership valuable. This conversation takes place over a beverage at a local establishment/coffee shop. This position will receive a stipend for their time plus reimbursement for mileage and cost of beverages at the local establishment.

  2. Stand United! Celebration Planner: In short, this position will plan and implement actions necessary to create two fabulous gathering events for everyone in our bargaining unit. The planners will coordinate with venues, caterers, entertainment vendors as well as plan unifying activities/resources for each event. This position will receive a stipend for their time plus reimbursement for mileage to meet with vendors.

If you are interested in either position, please reach out to Dominic Kirkpatick as soon as possible.



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:

2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year nominations open

Honor an amazing colleague (or two or three) by nominating them for 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year!


Nominations are open online through Nov. 15. Anyone can nominate a teacher for the award using the following link: https://educationminnesota.org/news/awards-and-honors/teacher-of-the-year/toy-nomination-form/


A new Teacher of the Year will be named at a banquet in May 2024. That person then becomes Minnesota's candidate for National Teacher of the Year.


Eligible nominees must meet these criteria:

  • Teach in a public or nonpublic Pre-K through 12th-grade school or ECFE or Adult Basic Education program, working at least 50 percent of the time directly with students.

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree and a Minnesota teaching license.

  • Have completed five years of teaching by the nomination deadline.

  • Intend to teach for the full following school year after being named.


MEMBER BENEFITS:

Didn’t make it in person to free the Professional Development at the RiverCenter during MEA?

PD is still available on MEA Online

Education Minnesota's MEA Online platform has numerous professional development courses for your classroom and union work -- all available free and for members to take at their own pace. This includes all teacher relicensure courses.


On MEA Online are Cultural Competency (four sections), English Learners, Reading, Student Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Positive Behavior Interventions and Instructional Strategies (which meets both the PBI and the Accommodations and Modifications relicensure requirements).


Note: The Minnesota Legislature passed a law this year requiring training for K-12 teachers about the “cultural heritage and contemporary contributions of American Indians, with particular emphasis on Minnesota Tribal Nations” in order to renew their license. Currently, Education Minnesota’s Cultural Competency training meets the requirement for teacher renewal next year, but after that a specific training will be required. Education Minnesota is currently in the beginning stages of creating a training for this new requirement and is working to get something available to members during the 2024-25 school year.


HAPPENINGS from the SCHOOL BOARD:

Upcoming School Board Elections:

Looking to see who other teacher unions have endorsed in other communities for the school board election in November? Use the following link to check it out: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/16mbwh2cLXf2MTIDyvlOcBdP_Jq24quQuhvn_pwURvkk/edit#gid=481675167

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


WHAT'S COMING UP?:

Attend an upcoming ESI 'When Can I Afford to Retire?' Seminar

One of the many benefits of being an Education Minnesota member is access to financial seminars. Education Minnesota ESI will be holding "When Can I Afford to Retire?" seminars this November and December.

Regardless of how long you have been an educator, attending this seminar will help you understand how your pension, Social Security and other savings, such as a 403(b), all contribute to your financial and retirement plan. Register early as seating is limited at the in-person events.

Monday, Nov. 27

EdMN Apple Valley Office

6950 West 146th Street, Suite 114, Apple Valley, MN 55124

Time: 4:30 - 5 p.m.: registration | 5 - 6:30 p.m. Seminar/boxed lunch/prizes


Tuesday, Dec. 5

EdMN SW Metro Office

7242 Metro Blvd, Suite 200, Edina, MN 55439

Time: 4:30 - 5 p.m.: registration | 5 - 6:30 p.m. Seminar/boxed lunch/prizes


Zoom:

Wednesday, Dec. 13

6-7 p.m.

A zoom link will be emailed to you the day before the seminar.



IT IS WORTH REPEATING:




Thank you for changing your profile picture frame on your personal social media platforms.





Thank you for your continued support as we stand in solidarity together! The EPEA staff is here to support you. If you have any concerns or questions, please reach out to your building site representative.


Remember to wear your EPEA swag on Wednesdays!


“Solidarity is not just awareness of the meaning of togetherness. It doesn't have to exist solely because of similar goals or interests. Solidarity should be born as a form of respect and concern for others.” - Titon Rahmawan


In Solidarity,

Dominic Kirkpatrick, EPEA President

Charles Cooper, EPEA Vice President

Brent Bovitz, EPEA Treasurer

Jessica Premo, EPEA Secretary












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