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Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers: Winter of Discontent
by PVFT Member
Monday Dec 11th, 2017 8:49 PM
December 6, 2017 marked the one-year anniversary of the teacher’s union contract campaign for a decent raise on our salary schedule and the removal of a cap on our health and welfare benefits.
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[ Photo courtesy Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers ]


December 6, 2017 marked the one-year anniversary of the teacher’s union contract campaign for a decent raise on our salary schedule and the removal of a cap on our health and welfare benefits. We have managed to temporarily keep the PVUSD from raiding our benefits to find even more money to “balance” the budget. They have offered us a one-time bonus laden with incentives to teachers that haven’t been hired in a vain attempt to divide and conquer our union. Our pleas to the board of trustees about financial hardship have fallen upon deaf ears. Our sincere concern for the education of the children of the Pajaro Valley have been met with cold stares and accusations of teachers being greedy, selfish and undeserving of a decent pay for honest, hard work.

Let me tell you what you rarely hear. Teachers give 110% of their time to make sure that your children get coached. The pitiful stipend works out to maybe a dollar an hour to help your children create strong minds, bodies and souls in the spirit of athletic competition. Teachers and counselors write letters of recommendation for colleges and universities so that your children can fulfill their dreams beyond high school. Teachers and counselors organize student clubs to fundraise for fieldtrips, scholarships, and school projects. Teachers, counselors and nurses support student fundraisers by buying items they may not personally want. We attend pancake breakfasts even though we can do so at the comfort of our own home. Teachers tutor students in the morning, noon and afterschool without compensation. Teachers and counselors make phone calls, read and send emails to communicate with our parents and students about whatever issue arises or to simply say, “Job well done.” Teachers develop curriculum, translate complex text, grade papers, and enter grades outside of their workday. We do all of these things and more because we love our job and the students and community we serve.

Beginning next Monday, don’t be surprised to notice the absence in the classrooms and offices of our Union colleagues. Work to rule means we will do what almost every other employee does around the country; work during our contracted day. If you notice that grades are not posted as often as you had expected, phone calls and emails don’t get returned or we are not present at parent meetings after our work day is done, it is because our work and sacrifices have been taken for granted. Pats on the back, fake smiles, paper certificates, handshakes, and tiny pins for longevity don’t pay the bills in one of the most expensive regions in the country.

Work to rule means we will use that “extra” time to continue to organize for fair and decent wages. You will see us holding signs on street corners and on bridge overpasses. You will see and hear us at the farmer’s markets. You will see and hear us in your neighborhoods knocking on doors asking for your support. You will see us registering voters and working on campaigns to unseat the callous board members who have been silent about supporting teachers, nurses and psychologists. You will see us again and again and again. Our resolve to win this campaign is greater than ever.

The power is in your hands. Thank you for the honking of horns, cheers and waves along the highways and the streets of our communities. We need you to write letters of support, send emails and attend school board meetings so that they may hear your voices. Tell them time and again how much you value our contributions.