Here's What's Brewing Today
Monday, August 8, 2022
Coming soon! WTU Town Hall
Week of August 22nd. Stay tuned for details.
WTU is working with DCPS and closely monitoring Monkeypox, the latest public health emergency.
Additional information about this viral disease and vaccine can be found at the links below.
Monkeypox | doh (dc.gov)
Monkeypox vaccine information for D.C., Maryland and Virginia - The Washington Post
Extended Enrollment – Sick Leave and Maternity Leave Banks
The WTU has extended the Open Enrollment Season for the Sick Leave and Maternity Leave Banks through August 31, 2022. The 8 hour donation required to join either bank will be taken out of your account on or after October 1, 2022, the beginning of the fiscal year. You will not be allowed to join after August 31, 2022.
If you are choosing to opt-out of either bank, please do so by August 31, by sending a formal request to Charmaine Wilks at [email protected].
Contact Charmaine Wilks at 202 517-1475 or at [email protected] to enroll or with any questions. If you miss the Open Enrollment dates, you will not be able to enroll in "the Banks" until the next Open Seasons in June 2023 and August 2023. This is strictly for the use of the Sick Leave and Maternity/Paternity Leave Banks and not the Dental/Vision enrollment.
Student Debt Clinic
AFT is hosting ongoing student debt clinic webinar Thursday evenings. Register at https://cvent.me/17XZka Webinar will include information about how to enroll in the free AFT Summer student loan member benefit.
Additional information can be found at www.forgivemystudentdebt.org – this website contains all of the information on how to access PSLF in an easily digestible and understandable format.
AM Brew News and Notices will be archived at https://www.wtulocal6.net/AMBrew.
WTU’s 2022 Summer Institute
All WTU courses are peer-instructed and you can earn continuing education credits towards recertification.
Click here to see and register for summer courses: https://www.wtulocal6.net/summer_institute_2022
We’re continuing to update our database.
Please help us ensure we have your current personal contact information on file. Email [email protected] to provide us with updated information.
ICYMI: Contract Negotiations, from last week's AM Brew
I wanted to clarify a few issues that have been swirling around contract negotiations this summer. Statements by the leadership of the city and school district have clouded the status of negotiations. But their carefully selected words do not fully represent what is really happening. Let me clear it up.
First, although the school district has tried their best to blame the WTU for the delay, please ask yourself who benefits from this delay—the teachers or the city’s coffers? By not agreeing to a contract, the city essentially “pockets” the money that would be allocated for your pay increases. In fact, this has been their “MO” for years. WTU’s contracts and many other city workers’ contracts are routinely settled years after they expire. To imply the WTU is reason for the delay is complete nonsense and just a part of the city’s way of doing business—blame the unions.
Importantly, this line from a July 8th story in the Washington Post, “Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee said the sticking point in the labor contract is compensation” was news to the WTU negotiating team. While I understand the political need for the Chancellor to erroneously place the blame on the WTU for public consumption, compensation has not been “the” sticking point for DCPS. And the WTU team has pages of receipts to prove it. DCPS made it clear to WTU they have other priorities. Again, who benefits from this misdirection? But more about this later.
As for the WTU’s actual compensation proposal, all I am allowed to say is it in very much in line with other settlements in urban school districts around the country and reasonable given the district’s budget situation. Any other characterizations of our compensation proposal are not accurate. Here are DCPS’s operating budget numbers for the years in question (readily available on Internet):
FY 2019 (actual) = $1,012,124,685
FY 2020 (actual) = $1,082,912,343
FY 2021 (actual) = $1,142,377,778
FY 2022 (approved) = $1,322,728,419 (Federal stimulus funds included)
FY 2023 (proposed) = $1,162,122,368
During the time teachers have received zero cost of living increases, the school district’s annual operating budget increased by almost $150 million or more than 14.8%. And that does not include the federal stimulus money that the US Secretary of Education specifically said can be used to increase teacher recruitment and retention. So where does the additional $150 million per year and stimulus money go? And for that matter, where does $1,162,122,368 go? A good question for people to ask. A question more people in our city should ask.
But let me be clear: although the Chancellor failed to mention them, he and his team have put other consequential proposals on the table that have nothing to do with compensation. These proposals would further undermine the rights of DC’s teachers. And the Chancellor and his team have said to the WTU team many times that these proposals are their priortiy—not compensation.
Asking DC’s teachers to give up even more rights is unconscionable. DC’s teachers already have fewer rights than most other urban teachers in the country (e.g., lack of tenure, no say in evaluations). Make no mistake: DCPS has made it clear that these proposals to reduce your rights are their priority, regardless of what the Chancellor has told the press. Again, the WTU has the paperwork to prove it.
What does all this mean? The WTU has and will continue to work hard to come to an agreement. But the city’s current offer is not acceptable and would have been a major step back for DC’s teachers. I do agree with the Chancellor on one thing: we can get this done. But we will only settle the contract if the parties are honest with each other and the public. If it takes mediation or arbitration for that to happen, then that’s what needs to happen.
Have a restful time and I look forward to seeing you in the fall.
Jacqueline Pogue Lyons, President