Nearly 100 educators representing school districts across the state volunteered their time Saturday, Nov. 16, 2020, to discuss ways they can better advocate for teachers and students as part of the 2020 UEA Bargaining Summit. Held online this year, the event featured an introductory session and a series of breakout sessions.
“The Summit is an opportunity for teacher leaders from across the state to share best practices for working effectively with district administrators and school boards,” said UEA Director of Policy and Research Jay Blain. This marked the ninth year UEA has held a Bargaining Summit.
The Summit began with a presentation on how the UEA leveraged relationships and negotiating skills to support members and locals as locals prepared to open schools following the closure due to COVID-19. The session was presented by UEA Vice President Renee Pinkney, UEA Executive Director Brad Bartels, UEA Director of Communications Mike Kelley, UEA Director of Legal Services and General Counsel Tracey Watson and UEA Director of Education Excellence and Government Relations Sara Jones.
Breakout sessions at the Summit included the following:
- District Budgets – Participants learned about the main components of the district budget, what parts are negotiable, and what else to look for. Presented by Beaver Education Association President Tina McMullin and UEA Director of Policy and Research Jay Blain.
- Preparing to Negotiate – The association work done prior to negotiations is essential to being prepared. In this session, participants learned about things your bargaining team can do to go into negotiations confidently. Presented by Cache negotiations team member Michael Rollins and Northern Utah UniServ Director Curt Benjamin.
- Identifying Local Bargaining Opportunities – Negotiations isn’t just about salary and benefits. Those attending this session discovered other types of issues around which local teams can bargain. Presented by Box Elder negotiations team member Deatra Fawcett and Jordan UniServ Director Jennifer Boehme.
- Bargaining During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Participants in this session learned strategies for bargaining during this time of crisis including health and safety, logistics, and tools for virtual bargaining. Presented by Carbon negotiations team member Stephanie Cha and Eastern UniServ Director Boni Henrie.
- Using Negotiations to Build Membership – You have your negotiated settlement, now what? Session attendees discussed ways to use a settlement to grow membership in your local association. Presented by Davis negotiations team member Lauren Rich, Weber negotiations team member Joe Burke and Ogden-Weber UniServ Director Barb Whitman.
- Bargaining for Equitable Resources – Equity is more money for higher-need student populations. Participants in this session discussed the differences between equitable and equal funding and resources. Presented by Uintah Education Association President Marsha Curtis, Granite negotiations team member Caren Burns and Granite UniServ Director Cindy Formellor.
“Participants left energized, engaged and educated about the bargaining process,” said Blain. “Our hope is that this event will give bargaining teams the tools they need to successfully advocate for their profession, for their students and for the collective good of public education in Utah.”