Nearly 100 educators representing school districts across the state volunteered their time Saturday, Nov. 13, 2020, to discuss ways they can better advocate for teachers and students as part of the 2021 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 tenth year UEA has held a Bargaining Summit.
The Summit began with a presentation on bargaining to promote a pro-public education agenda that benefits students, educators and society. The session was presented by UEA President Heidi Matthews and UEA Executive Director Jennifer Boehme. Matthews stressed the importance of ‘value-driven bargaining’ to accomplish pre-established value-based goals.
Breakout sessions at the Summit included the following:
- Creating a Master Agreement: Participants learned strategies for bargaining a master agreement or contract from locals who have experience in this area. Presented by UEA Board member Rod Hurd, Garfield Education Association member Samie Ott and Color Country UniServ Director Kathleen Cheshire.
- Fostering Good Collaboration: When doing any work related to negotiating, collaboration is essential. Those attending learned about strategies your bargaining team can do to promote collaboration. Presented by Cache School District HR Director Kirk McRae, Cache Education Association President Jessica Littlefield, Davis Education Association President Denise Willmore and Northern Utah UniServ Director Curt Benjamin.
- Identifying Local Bargaining Opportunities: Negotiations isn’t just about salary and benefits. This session focused on other issues around which associations can bargain. Presented by Salt Lake Education Association member Kristy Johnson, South Summit Education Association President Tami Williams and Eastern UniServ Director Boni Henrie.
- Advanced School Finance: Attendees learned about the advanced components of school finance, both state and local. Presented by UEA Director of Policy and Research Jay Blain.
- Promoting Negotiations to Build Membership: Participants discussed ways to leverage a negotiated settlement to grow membership. Presented by Logan Education Association member Kathy Sherman, Granite Education Association President Michele Jones and UEA UniServ Specialist William Spiegel.
- Bargaining for Equitable Resources: Equity is more money for higher-need student populations. This session included a discussion about the differences between equitable and equal funding and resources. Presented by Granite Education Association member Caren Burns, UEA Board member Marsha Curtis and Davis UniServ Director Cindy Formeller.
“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.”