Thanks to everyone for their hard work on this effort!
These numbers have been updated to reflect the final count from this week, as well as the additional signatures Class Size Counts submitted to the Secretary of State today. We are pleased to announce the final count is 347,326 signatures!
Thanks to everyone for their hard work on this effort!
In a closely watched labor case involving home health care workers, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to expand workers’ rights but also decided to not radically alter union relations in America -- at least for now. WEA President Kim Mead comments on the decision.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision Monday (June 30) in Harris vs. Quinn, a case about public sector fair share/agency fee arrangements. Fair share is the long-held principle that every worker who enjoys the benefits and protections of a negotiated contract should, in fairness, contribute to costs for maintaining those contract benefits.
The court's narrow 5-4 decision struck a blow against working families when it eliminated fair share provisions for Illinois home health care workers. (Read the full opinion as a pdf file.)
WEA President Kim Mead's statement about the decision:
"Today's ruling in the Harris vs. Quinn case by the U.S. Supreme Court hurts the people who need high quality home health care services and the people who provide them. WEA stands with our labor partners in advocating for living wages that support the ability of working people to move out of poverty and achieve the middle class.
"I am dismayed that the Supreme Court has rolled back, at least for the home health care workers in this case, a fundamental principle of our society, which is that people pay for what they use. In this case, those who reap the benefits and protections of a negotiated contract will no longer pay their fair share of costs associated with securing or maintaining that contract.
"In regards to educators in Washington, WEA will continue to work hard to represent the interests of our members at the bargaining table and in Olympia. Our job is to make your lives and work better and we remain committed to doing that with you."
More about Harris vs. Quinn:
The plaintiffs in this case were home-care providers represented by the conservative National Right to Work Committee. They asked the court to declare all public sector fair share/agency fee arrangements unconstitutional, by overruling a 1977 precedent-setting decision, Abood vs. Detroit Board of Education. The court did not overrule Abood, but continued to suggest it may review its provisions in future cases.
Harris vs. Quinn centered on a First Amendment challenge to an Illinois statute that:
(a) allows home-care providers (who are paid through certain state programs but are directed in their day-to-day activities by the patients they care for) to select a union to be their exclusive representative for purposes of negotiating with the state over rates of pay and other working conditions; and
(b) allows such a duly selected union to collect a representation fee from all home-care providers, whether they are members of the union or agency fee payers.
The 1351 signature gathering campaign is coming to a close and now is the time to turn in your petitions, even if they only have one or two signatures. Each and every signature matters. If you have already turned in your signatures, thank you! We will be gathering signatures at public events through June 30, but your individual petitions should be mailed now.
Petition delivery day: The campaign will deliver signatures to the Secretary of State's office in Olympia on Tuesday, July 2. All petitions must be received by June 30 in order to be processed for delivery.
A General Membership meeting was held May 29th. Fifty members attended what was probably the shortest one in the history of the SVEA, thirty minutes.
Members, with your help we can lower class sizes in grades K-12.
Class Size Counts coalition needs your continued work on gathering signatures. This weekend is a great chance to gather 200 or more per person in just a couple of hours. Who is going to the game anyway?
We are coordinating two I-1351 signature gathering shifts on Saturday, May 31:
11-1 PM (Sounders)
5-7 PM (Mariners)
If we get 30 volunteers for each shift, we’ll be able to work in teams of 5 to cover all the major gates of both stadiums. Don’t worry, we’ll provide all the materials and training.
Please have volunteers (member, friend, staff, family, etc.) use this link to commit to one or both shifts on Saturday: http://bit.ly/1kgAxZw
We will track signatures by Local so you get credit when the statewide tally is reported at 1 PM on Monday.
Here is a list of all the signature-gathering events that Sammamish Uniserv has planned. Let's get as many signatures as we can. With just a little effort we can get the class size initiative on the ballot. Our local needs about 800 more signatures before school gets out. We can do it!
Over the next few weeks, a research firm hired by the district will be conducting a survey to gauge support for a school bond. Read more on Living Snoqualmie... http://www.livingsnoqualmie.com/key-survey-finally-set-course-next-school-bond-time-answer-phone/
April 29 — The Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation today released its plan to meet McCleary v. Washington, the 2012 state Supreme Court decision holding that the state isn’t adequately funding basic education. Below is State Superintendent Randy Dorn’s response to the plan.
In January, the Supreme Court bluntly wrote that the state “cannot realistically claim to have made significant progress” in addressing basic education funding. It ordered the Legislature to produce a complete plan by April 30.
The 58-page document released today says very little, and is far from complete. It isn’t even a plan. It reads like a small history lesson. It includes a list of bills that “are meaningful because they show significant work is occurring.”
The problem is that “none of these bills passed the Legislature.”
The document concludes with the plea that the Court “recognize that 2015 is the next and most critical year for the Legislature to reach the grand agreement needed to meet the state's Article IX duty by the statutorily scheduled full implementation date of 2018.”
In other words, Wait until tomorrow.
But I have to ask: Will tomorrow ever come?
The Legislature isn’t going to take its responsibility seriously unless the Court forces it to do so.
The 2018 deadline was created and passed by the Legislature. The required education funding levels were adopted by the Legislature.
I urge the Court to do what it can to keep the Legislature’s feet to the fire, and keep the promises they’ve made to our students.
Find the complete report here.