Friday evening I received my copy of the tentative contract for teachers in the Juneau School District. In light of the August 16 Empire front-page article describing all the raises that city employees have received this year, I was expecting a contract that would compare to those of other CBJ workers. The tentative contract offers me slightly more money than last year, yes, but it is not an across-the-board raise for all teachers, and it is not the 6 percent we need and deserve.
The contract is inequitable for different experience levels and does not address the less than competitive start and end salaries. It does not adequately address our safety concerns, nor does it competitively compare to other CBJ workers' health benefits.
What it comes down to is this: Juneau teachers feel strongly about A Better Contract, and while we gratefully appreciate and support our negotiating team, many do not think what we have here is A Better Contract. The teachers of this district have lived with pay cuts and freezes for too long to accept this version. We are standing together for a contract that gives us what we need. We are ready to wait for the contract that gives us the reasonable terms asked for by our negotiating team, and not be placated by an inequitable, inadequate substitute.
Teachers, I urge you to abstain from voting on Tuesday and to explore the possibility of A Better Contract being negotiated. Community members, I urge you to speak to the school board and administration in support of your children and their quality teachers.
Amy Lloyd, teacher
Juneau School District