I have much to report to you. First of all, as of Monday, February 9th, the independent election judge (agreed upon by JNEA and the district) has verified our 30% show of interest signatures! This is a huge step forward. Thank you to all of the teachers, counselors, school psychologists, speech pathologists, and librarians who have taken the first step to holding this most important election! It is going to happen!
Please note that, at the time of this posting, no other group has submitted signatures. The deadline is set for February 20. Judging from recent emails, the administration expects the other association to respond, but at this point that is speculation. One thing is certain:
There will be an election, and possibly two, because Joplin teachers stepped up and got the process started! We will keep you posted as we learn of upcoming events. In latest developments:
Ray Smith, MNEA Uniserv Director, and I spent a little over an hour with Dr. Huff, Tina Smith, Board attorney, another group, and the election judge, Mr. J. Dick Waers from Kansas City, discussing election parameters. The bargaining unit (any full-time employee on the teacher salary schedule who does not hire, fire, or evaluate) will be the ONLY people who will cast ballots.
Tentative agreement was reached on election sites, though this could change. At this time, it looks as though Cecil Floyd and Kelsey Norman Elementary Schools will be the two polling places. JNEA suggested a third site, but there hasn't been agreement on that. The first election is scheduled for March 25th from 3:15pm-7:30pm. (At this time, we cannot say for certain there will be a second election - stay tuned.) After meeting the election judge, who has overseen similar elections in Springfield and in the Kansas City area, we can assure you - without any doubt - that this will be a fair election process. Joplin NEA will be asking for volunteers to work as observers and poll workers at a later date.
JNEA will also be sending out a few more mailers to your house, including a FAQ that should arrive this week. Please feel free to share information with non-members, and please don't be hesitant to speak up about your support for JNEA and this election process.
Choosing a representative to negotiate working conditions and compensation is a historic event for Joplin teachers. You have helped to move this process - and the ultimate outcome will be determined by you and your colleagues when you cast ballots on March 25.
We have many of our members say, "I want to help but I just can't make it to meetings.". I ask you to do this, talk to 10 people - just talk to them and encourage them to check out this website. Information is very powerful and we are proud of the show of interest from members and non-members. Talk to others who may not know what all of the emails have been in about. If you don't know what to say, use the latest mailing of FAQ's to spread the word.
As always, questions are welcomed (and encouraged). If you want to give my email to others who have questions, please do! We want our fellow educators to contact us and ask questions.
Improved Working Conditions for Teachers = Improved Learning Conditions for Students
Keep being Awesome,