Bristol Federation of Teachers

Contact us at bft1464@gmail.com

Contract Negotiations — October 20, 2017

Contract Negotiations

BFT negotiation team engaged in the mediation process the final night. Unfortunately a final agreement could not be reached. We will now prepare for the arbitration process to decide the contract.

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New Bristol Superintendent — October 19, 2017
SLO Workshop from AFT CT — October 17, 2017

SLO Workshop from AFT CT

The next professional development workshop for members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated PreK-12 teachers’ unions aims to provide Student Learning Objectives (SLO) training required for educators’ assessments. I hope you’ll plan to join us if you need to fulfill the requirementthis year — or simply want to learn more about developing SLOs:
WHEN: Tuesday, October 24 from 5:00PM to 7:30PM.
WHERE: The Soifer Conference Room on the second floor of AFT Connecticut union headquarters, located at 35 Marshall Road in Rocky Hill (plenty of free parking available).
HOW: Click here to sign-up online – there is no cost for members to attend, but please RSVP in advance because a light dinner will be served.
 The workshop is being co-hosted by our affiliated Hartford Federation of Teachers and the presenter is our own EastCONN Federation of Teachers union member Stacy Vocasek.
Note: a follow-up session with additional support and feedback takes place Monday, October 30 from 4:00 to 6:00PM at HFT’s union hall, at 85 Buckingham Street in Hartford.
I hope to see you next week in Rocky Hill for this informative workshop.
In solidarity,
Jennifer Benevento

Professional Issues & Development Coordinator, AFT Connecticut

Facts About the Teacher Tax — October 15, 2017

Facts About the Teacher Tax

As legislators work an a final budget, and BFT members contact members of the house and senate regarding the “Teacher Tax,” it’s important to have some facts ready to accurately discuss this matter, which will have a profound impact on the income of teachers for the remainder of their careers.

First, here is a short but extremely informative article about the teacher pension system here in Connecticut. As the study in that article explains, right now (paying 6%) teachers don’t break even on paying into their pension until they have worked 25 years. If they paid 8%, that break even point would go out to 30 or 35 years! It also points out that many of the practices, if they were in the private sector, would be illegal since they are so unfair to the employee!

Nationwide, the average teacher retirement contribution is 7.2%. Of course, differing economic situations in each state greatly impact the worth of that contribution. Another thing to keep in mind on this is, should we be keeping our rate “average?” That rate is likely to increase. Are you OK with paying 10% or 12% to keep “average?”

Connecticut teachers also contribute 1.25% of their income to retiree health care, so if the rate increases to 8% for teacher pensions, Connecticut teachers will be paying 9.25% of their income to the state. This means, in the end, teachers would be paying 75% of their pension costs.

For many years now, the state has not contributed the promised amount into the fund, making it insolvent. Why should teachers have to make up for the state not keeping up their end of the deal? Why should we trust them now?

Some Connecticut legislators are promising to “look into” what is known as “Windfall Elimination,” the process whereby teachers who work a second job and eventually collect social security as a result, lose a significant portion of that social security payment due to also having a state pension. However, the “Windfall” problem, because it is social security based, can only be solved by the federal government.

 

 

Teacher Tax Is Back — October 12, 2017

Teacher Tax Is Back

The secret tax targeting teachers buried in the state budget passed last month by lawmakers and since vetoed by the governor has again raised its ugly and unfair head. Numerous media outlets are reporting that similar proposals “remain under consideration” in ongoing talks among legislative leaders working toward agreement on an alternative two-year fiscal package.


Your elected representatives need to know that Connecticut’s educators will not stand for being singled out while profitable corporations and CEOs have not been asked to do their fair share.


Click here to send a message to your state Representative and Senator today demanding they oppose a targeted tax on teachers.


The reality is that you and fellow union members have more than done your partto help resolve our state’s fiscal challenges. Lawmakers responded last month with a slap in the face by imposing an occupational tax that would have done absolutely nothing to shore up the Teachers Retirement System (TRS).


That’s one reason so many made calls, sent messages and took to the streets demanding the governor reject the toxic state budget that included the secret teacher tax. Now that it’s back, we must redouble our efforts to assure legislators don’t repeat what many who voted for it later admitted was a mistake.

Dr. Solek to Leave October 31. — October 11, 2017

Dr. Solek to Leave October 31.

At a special BOE meeting that was held tonight, the BOE approved an agreement for Dr. Solek to step down as superintendent, with her last official day being October 31.

No replacement has been named yet.

Here is the Hartford Courant article.

An updated article details the $50,000 separation package.

An earlier article from the Hartford Courant on her evaluation and non-renewal.

Lastly, a Bristol Press article regarding her leaving.

Local Political Voice — October 4, 2017

Local Political Voice

There are 2 upcoming opportunities for teachers to impact local elections and have their voice heard.

This Friday, October 6, Rep. Cara Pavalock, along with Rep. Betts and Sen. Martin (all of whom voted in favor of the GOP budget, including the teacher tax and changes to collective bargaining), will have a monthly coffee hour event at Rodd’s Restaurant (854 Farmington Ave., Bristol) from 8am – 9am.

The Second is another Labor Walk this Saturday.

When: Saturday, October 7, 2017, 8:30am – 12:30pm
Where: Greater Bristol Labor Federation

61 East Main St (across from O’Brien’s Funeral Home)
Bristol, CT 06010

Join the Greater Bristol Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, this Saturday as they canvass neighborhoods in Bristol to support pro-worker candidates in the 2017 municipal elections.

No experience is necessary — training and materials are provided to all volunteers by Connecticut AFL-CIO organizers.

 

State Budget Action…Again! — October 3, 2017

State Budget Action…Again!

Urge Your Legislator to Support a Fair Budget for Connecticut

Urge your State Senator and Representative to reject measures cloaked as “structural reforms” that deliberately attack workers, including attempts to eliminate public employee collective bargaining and binding arbitration. These laws give workers a voice on the job and have served the state well as effective vehicles to close income gaps and protect vital public services. Demonstrate your support of workers’ rights by dismissing any efforts to kill collective bargaining and binding arbitration.  Embrace true structural reform by rejecting layers of duplication and waste and moving towards county or regional government.

Ask them to please support a more balanced approach: VOTE YES on a budget that asks more of corporations and the wealthy, not teachers and the working poor. Protect our clean elections program, maintain the thresholds on prevailing wage projects, and safeguard our higher education institutions. And importantly, protect our right to collectively bargain.

We need a fair budget that:

  • Protects collective bargaining rights so public employees can continue to negotiate health care and retirement security;
  • Preserves our clean elections program to prevent dark, corporate money from tainting our elections;
  • Maintains thresholds on prevailing wage projects to protect wages for thousands of hard-working construction workers;
  • Eliminates taxes on teachers and the working poor by axing the Republican’s teacher pension tax and maintaining the earned income tax credit, and instead ask corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share;
  • Safeguards Higher Education by funding UConn and UConn Health Center, as well as our state universities and community colleges;
  • And so much more: keeps jobs programs at the DOL, protects health programs, preserves the Jobs Funnels Project, includes funding to prevent bankruptcy in Hartford, and more.

Teri Merisotis

Legislative Advocate

AFT CONNECTICUT

35 Marshall Rd.

Rocky Hill, CT 06067

860-257-9782 work

860-680-8959 cell

www.aftct.org

“Teacher Tax” Facts — September 24, 2017

“Teacher Tax” Facts

The Republican budget that passed the legislature contained a teacher tax, but no cost shift. However, the governor has said he will veto that plan, and that would mean legislators once again will be considering both issues to try to solve the budget deficit. We must stand strong and ready to fight back against both the cost shift and the teacher tax because they hurt students, teachers, and public education.

Because of your continued outreach and strong objections to the teacher tax, there is a lot of misinformation being shared by some legislators.

I want to be perfectly clear: THIS IS A TAX ON TEACHERS.

Here are the facts:

  • The Republican budget increases the payroll tax on teachers from 6 percent to 8 percent.
  • This will cost every teacher about $1,500 per year.
  • Unlike other pension contributions, the budget counts this additional 2% as tax revenue.
  • This increase will generate almost $100 million to reduce the state’s deficit instead of reducing the unfunded liability for teacher retirement.
  • None of this tax increase will go toward the state’s unfunded teacher pension liability—it will instead reduce the state’s contribution to teacher retirement.

Unlike other pension contributions, this additional 2% increase counts as tax revenue for the state!

GET THE FACTS ABOUT THE TEACHER TAX

Please feel free to share this information with your colleagues, friends, and family members and to post it on your social media networks.

Our voices are being heard and we will continue to speak out against all attempts to balance the budget on the backs of students and teachers. We will fight against any new proposals that include a teacher tax or a cost shift that moves the state’s share of teacher retirement costs onto cities and towns.

We must keep up our advocacy until we have a fair budget that works for all of us and invests in public education.

Go to this link to find and contact your state representatives. Tell them to work on a new budget that does not tax teachers.

Teacher Pensions, Pay, and Turnover — September 23, 2017