The following was posted on the Harford County Education Association's website Monday, Dec. 19:
Why Bonus Money Must Be Part of Negotiations
The County Executive, David Craig, is trying to tell the school system how to spend their money. He is not allowed to do this. It is against the law.
Why is this bad for you?
• If we allow David Craig to do this it will take away all your rights to negotiate money in the future.
• The County Executive could claim every year that there is not enough money to fund wage increases. When a surplus is miraculously found every year he could give you a one-time bonus in lieu of steps and cost of living. This is what happened this year.
• The County Executive is claiming that the $32 million dollars found this year is not recurring money. This is false. He is choosing to spend this money next year on other items instead of giving the county workers a fair share. This is not equitable distribution of money.
How does the County Council play a role in this?
The County Council understood our dilemma and chose to amend David Craig's bill, which allowed us to negotiate this money. They were helping protect your right to negotiate fairly.
Why did David Craig veto the County Council's Bill?
He does not want us to negotiate this money because it takes away his power to tell the BOE how to spend it. He wants total control of the money. He does not want to give you a raise even though the money would be in the budget next year to cover these extra costs.
Why didn't HCEA and members have a vote on the Bonus/MOU?
It is the expectation of the union to uphold the integrity of the collective bargaining law, rights and responsibilities of its membership.
The membership votes on tentative agreements (TA). A TA has not been reached. When a TA is reached, it will be presented to the membership for a vote.
What could happen in the future if HCEA signs the MOU for the bonus money without having the opportunity to negotiate?
Any County Executive in the future could purposefully not fund the BOE to keep you from receiving your steps and Cost of Living increases. When a surplus occurs they could throw a one-time payment at you. This could be used as a tactic to lower teacher wages permanently.
HCEA wants to see you get the money you deserve. YOU'VE EARNED IT! But, we cannot let the County Executive take away your legal rights in the process.
What can you do to help the Union WIN this matter & get your money?
• Call your County Council Members and ask them to override the County Executive's Veto.
• Explain that David Craig is attempting to take away your rights to have an opinion on how this money should be spent. (If you are a taxpayer tell them so).
• Tell them that you want the bonus money, but not if it will hurt your right to negotiate in the future.
• They need to stand up for the members who voted them in office.
• Explain that they have an Ethical Obligation to protect its people.
• Tell them that you are tired of not being a priority and that this is affecting your ability to give 100% to your students due to working a 2nd job.
• Tell them that you expect future money to be distributed equitably instead of receiving 0% of the new revenues.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun