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FCPS Workers File For Historic Union Elections

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FCPS BUDGET ALERT!

Unfortunately, the County Executive proposed a budget that does not meet or align with the Superintendent’s proposal and leaves students, educators, and our communities underfunded. Now the County Executive’s proposed budget heads to the Board of Supervisors. FCPS is the largest division in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of the wealthiest counties in the nation; however, we rank seventh out of the eight school divisions in our region for pay. In order to deliver the best student outcomes, we need to prioritize staff recruitment and retention. 

This increase simply meets the status quo for staffing given a growing population of students with increased needs, and does not go far enough to address other ongoing issues within FCPS. Ultimately, the County Executive’s budget leaves students, families, and our schools behind.

 

But we have an opportunity to secure a budget that better suits the needs of students and FCPS workers. To secure a six percent wage increase, FCFT members need to act fast. Use this link to get involved.

On February 8, Superintendent Reid proposed a budget that begins to address staff recruitment and retention by including a six percent Market Scale Adjustment (MSA), effective for all FCPS employees. The Superintendent’s proposed budget also accounts for the needs of growing populations, including, English language learners, students with disabilities, and students qualifying for free and reduced-priced meals.

How Educators Are Working to Win Collective Bargaining

By coming together as educators and negotiating a contract with FCPS, we have the ability to win improvements in working conditions and student learning conditions! When educators are at the bargaining table we can provide essential feedback to FCPS.

Last spring, FCFT succeeded in passing a collective bargaining resolution through the School Board, and educators across the county are hard at work to win a union election and a legally binding contract. But we need to gather a critical mass of FCPS staff in order to win. That means educators must step up and talk to their colleagues about joining our union.

Educational staff are taking the initiative across FCPS — and support for collective bargaining is piling up — making us that much closer to winning the contract we deserve! Here’s how educators across the county are getting it done. 

Monica Harmon, a kindergarten assistant at Kings Park Elementary, organizing her colleagues and building a strong union in her school. “I’ve been getting to school early and chatting with my colleagues about the importance of collective bargaining and a legally-binding contract. Many of my colleagues are seeing the value of standing together. We’ve made tremendous headway in building our power!”

A distributed leadership network and a divide-and-conquer strategy is building a strong union at South Lakes High School according to Lucie Traylor, who added, “we identify educator-leaders in departments throughout the building and have them gain signatures within their department. During our last teacher workday in September, we took the opportunity to talk to our colleagues that we usually don’t usually see during the school day about getting to the collective bargaining table.”

By divvying up the work and being resourceful with their time, South Lakes and Kings Park educational staff continue to add more support among their colleagues.

Fran Lewandoski, a social worker at Lemon Road Elementary School and President of the Fairfax County Association of Social Workers is identifying coworkers to join in as leaders. “We’ve been identifying FCPS staff who want to to organize their colleagues and to  join us. We met and developed a plan to get more of our staff to sign on. We’re excited to keep organizing and building our power so we can better serve our students and communities.”

Lake Braddock Secondary School special educator and President of FCFT, David Walrod, notes the importance of gaining signatures and winning our union, "We are dedicated to getting to the bargaining table to improve student learning and educational staff working conditions. Our union is committed to a bottom-up, member-led organizing strategy centered on building power for all Fairfax County educational staff members."

So what can you do to organize for educator power in your building?

Talk to your colleagues! Be resourceful with your time, connect with the folks you see every day, and identify fellow leaders to talk to the folks you don’t. Engaging your colleagues one-on-one conversations, in building-wide union meetings, and asking them to join our union. That is how we build a strong union of FCPS educational staff.

FCPS Staff WIN Mid-Year 2% Raise, Onward to the Bargaining Table!

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Over the past month, FCPS employees used their organizing power and delivered two meaningful wins!

2% Increase for FCPS Employees Effective January 1st, 2024 — On Thursday, October 26th, the FCPS School Board voted to increase the salaries of FCPS staff to 2% effective January 1st, 2024. The much needed increase comes at the urging of FCPS workers across the county, who are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of living in Northern Virginia. More needs to be done to improve the wages of FCPS educational staff who have fallen well behind comparable school districts.

FCPS employees will see their wage increases in the pay period following January 1st, 2024.

FCPS Returns to a system-wide leave bank — FCPS previously allowed employees to donate extra leave to a system-wide leave bank. However, the popular policy was canceled. Yet, thanks to FCPS staff across the county who spoke up about losing the popular policy, FCPS has reinstated system-wide leave. FCFT will provide updates on the implementation of this program.

 

These improvements didn’t happen without cause. In order to win, educators organized and took action.

At the state-level, FCFT members headed down to Richmond to meet with our legislators and voice our concerns relating to recruitment and retention, workload, and wages. We also advocated to policy-makers involved in the appropriations process and secured an additional $19.7 million in funding for FCPS!

 

In Fairfax County, FCPS educators met with School Board members to share how FCPS policy is impacting our lives inside and outside the classroom. FCFT members are engaged in regular discussions with School Board members regarding how to utilize the increase in funding to improve the working and learning conditions within FCPS.

When we can sit down at the bargaining table, we will have a stronger voice to make more improvements to educator working conditions and student learning conditions.

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