With Emotional Bank on Empty, Snoqualmie Valley Teachers Union Proposes New Bargaining Model For Next Contract

Just four days after a narrowly averting a teacher’s strike, Snoqualmie Valley Education Association President, Lisa Radmer, stood to address the Snoqualmie Valley School Board at its September 12th meeting.  She was permitted to surpass the 2-minute public comment time limit and elaborate on teachers’ sentiments regarding their newly approved three-year contract.

Radmer commented that strikes rarely come about over one issue or one bargain. In the case of SVSD teachers, she said it wasn’t just that the pay raise was still low compared to rising health insurance premiums and elementary class size was still too high. The union president commented that years of pent up frustration over a number of issues came to a head during recent contract negotiations, including instances of poor communication and disrespect, which nearly fueled a strike.

Radmer admitted that even her negotiating team underestimated the degree of that teacher frustration and concern, warning the board that teachers’ “emotional bank” is empty and until SVEA members feel their concerns and issues are being heard, strife will continue.

She said the lukewarm 59% contract ratification shows “much work needs to be done to clear the disillusionment of teachers with district priorities.”

She went on to suggest a new Interest-Based Bargaining Model when the two sides meet three years from now to settle on another new contract; one that employs a “paradigm shift,” involving earlier collaboration and one without what Radmer called an “outside adversarial consultant” hired by SVSD for negotiations.

She suggested the two sides utilize professional collaboration way earlier in the bargaining process, like what they use everyday in classrooms, and sit down regularly and honestly to discuss issues that arise – before contracts are even up for negotiation.

Board members appeared to agree with Radmer when it comes to changing future contract bargaining.

Board President, Scott Hodgins commented that the negotiations were “a stumble through in my mind at first” and that the process of negotiating needs to be changed. He said the board will continue to look at ways to improve the process.

Board Vice-President Geoff Doy even suggested that a memorandum of agreement could be created regarding how the 2016 contract negotiation would work, concurring that there should be a better way come to agreement on future teacher contracts.

Superintendent Aune finished up the negotiation discussion by thanking all involved in the process. He admitted his school board was subject to many criticisms during the negotiations, saying “they took shots.”

He said those shots were bothersome and hurtful at times, but commended the board on taking the high road and staying positive “and keeping the end in mind.”

Aune said the “end in mind” in this case was everyone back to work on Monday and “delivering quality education to the kids.”









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  • havn’t had kids in the system for many years. .never here in the valley. what do i have to say as a taxpayer? quit putting the kids in the middle.. the stress the kids feel waiting to hear an outcome of money that creates their future? why we are where we are.. the unions never signed a teachers paycheck.. the taxpayers do that.. teachers TEACH for damned sake. why can’t they stand up for themselves? i never got it.. i don’t now.. where are the teachers on the school board? are they there? i don’t know.. if not. why not? the kids are with them everyday.. and they don’t have a voice? the system just sucks.. no getting around it. .the “board” sits on their thrones.. most of those rooms have them elevated.. you know above the fray? .. the article is right. .this should be a team effort.. we try and teach our kids to get along.. don’t bully.. be kind.. and then you read the volumes of disrespect from the union, the board and the teachers sides. .disgusting adults.. trying to teach kids.. what?

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