Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bennington, VT Teachers Need Our Help

The following message is from Vermont Education Association about a strike in one of their local associations.  Help as you see fit.

"As you may have heard, the Southwestern Vermont Education Association (Bennington) is on strike to protest the worst imposed terms and conditions of employment for teachers in Vermont history.  More information is below, but the bottom line is this:  the local affiliate needs our support.

"You can donate on-line to the SWVEA Strike Help Fund, by going to or send a check made payable to “Southwestern Vermont Education Association” and mail to SWVEA, P.O. Box 4762, Bennington, Vermont 05201

"In June 2011, all of the 6 school boards within the supervisory union voted to impose very punitive working conditions on teachers after essentially ignoring the fact finders' report earlier that month. Later the school boards returned to offer a "final proposal" that spread the terms of the imposition out over what would be a four -year contract. The imposition/final offer included radical changes to their salary schedule, a REDUCTION in the base wage over the course of  the four years, increases in workday assignments that would lessen  teacher prep time – to force even more prep work into non-school hours,  and a 33% increase in teachers' co-pay for health insurance. There was more to the imposition/final offer, but needless to say, the SWVEA membership voted overwhelmingly to reject these terms in mid-September.

"The boards and union met on Wednesday, October 5, but the boards refused to bargain unless the union agreed to not speak to the press, not take any action, and bargain only in public. The union rejected these unacceptable terms. One week ago, SVWEA members voted 209 to 12 to  authorize a strike on October 19 if a fair contract was not reached. An agreement was not reached and on October 19 the teachers went out on strike and have been on strike since then. They continue to be on strike today. Both sides have met virtually every day and are meeting again today.

"We need support in the meantime. Please ask your fellow union members to send messages of support to the President and Vice President. They have had a tough few weeks and need to rally their members to stick together. They are sharing all messages of support with the members and it is  helping. Please send more! Stephannie Peters, President,  and Deb Berard, Vice President,"

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