Hamilton County Education Association Starts Process to Get New Contract for Educators
The Hamilton County Education Association (HCEA) has submitted enough signatures to start the process of collaboratively conferencing with Hamilton County Schools. Formerly known in Tennessee as collective bargaining, the process of collaborative conferencing brings educators and district officials together to create a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines educators’ salary, benefits, insurance, working conditions, and other provisions.
Under the Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act (PECCA), a professional employee organization has to submit a petition signed by 15% of certified educators to trigger a poll calling for collaborative conferencing. HCEA has submitted approximately 1,550 signatures, or 40% of certified educators.
“We’re looking at improving the teacher’s meetings and planning time. We’re looking at just being able to have time to go to the bathroom, which for some of the teachers, that difficult. We’re really looking at giving teachers that voice of what what is not working well, because the goal really is to have the best working conditions so that we attract teachers,” said HCEA President Jeanette O Markhail. “We want teachers thinking about coming to Hamilton think, ‘oh, they get paid well. They have great working conditions. They’re respected. They’re they’re not leaving the profession in droves in Hamilton County. We want that message to be something we can truly put out there and everyone can support.”
If a majority of polled educators respond that they want collaborative conferencing, then the district and professional employee organization will meet over the spring semester to create the Memorandum of Understanding, which can cover salary, insurance, fringe benefits, working conditions, grievance procedures, leave, and payroll deductions for non-political activities.