Latest MDCPS Contract Changes Yields $2000 Income Gains, Incurs $1300 Insurance Premium Costs and $3500 Healthcare Costs, Topped by Further Erosion of Employee Rights

The following are notes I took on the proposed 2013 Addendum to the 2012-2015 MDCPS/UTD Contract:


Bottom Line:  Why would anyone vote to reduce their due process and impose further workplace restrictions and ZERO gains, while simultaneously voting to increase their healthcare costs above and beyond a recurring raise BELOW what the Governor of Florida called for?

This contract is one more loss in a string of losses starting with Aronowitz’ 2006 failure.  A string of losses of workplace dignity and due process (UTD/union gives up its voice in determining if Reduction in Force is necessary in this contract).

Where are the gains like increased coaching supplements?  Like comp time for teachers who work after the bell?  Where are improvements to healthcare instead of concession after concession?

Highlights from the following notes:

  • Non-instructional bargaining unit members see 2.3% increase but no step. Overtime rates specified.
  • Health Insurance increases TREMENDOUS and unwarranted by “Obamacare” changes:
    • 29% average increase over last year to maintain same insurance as what you’ve had in the past
    • OAP10 can expect 65% increase in costs, OAP20 84% increase and OAP20 who switch to Local Plus 63% higher costs on average.
    • New York Times Article out last month indicates MDCPS is charging almost double what the national average is for premiums.
    • What guarantee do we have that suggestions discussed in earlier UTD letter are incorporated? No description of Local Plus is given.
    • Blood-work requirement unnecessarily intrusive.
  • Article XI may require PARCC/Common Core adherence even if PARCC/Common Core overturned, extends to student services employees.
  • Due process further eroded.
  • A layoff may occur WHENEVER the Board deems necessary” – no union negotiation or debate?
  • Where are the “Credential Payment provisions?”
  • Teaching out of field restrictions are tightened, increasing potency of threat of firing

I cannot cast a vote that nullifies the governor’s call for educators to get a $2500 raise, replacing it instead with a $1300 raise and the rumors of a non-recurring $1000 bonus while driving employee families off healthcare by raising the cost astronomically. I ask you again, when will you draw the line on the erosion of your workplace rights, privileges and dignity?

If you, like me, think UTD must go back to the bargaining table and demand better for we who make ALL of this possible with our dedicated sacrificial work each day,
1) Vote NO on Wednesday.
2) Stay for the vote count and take a picture of the ratification ballot with the tally visible and email it to: .
3) Send the ratification results by your phone to

Article 28 Section 3:
what does article 28 section 3 accomplish for the employee? for the employer? why isn’t Florida’s usual status quo approach agreed to? What does it mean “during such negotiations, unit employees would continue to be governed by the current economic agreement for the applicable fiscal year.”? Doesn’t the agreement include the idea of steps?

why the change in language from instructional personnel to teachers? Why the exclusion of support instructional personnel like Physical/Occupational Therapists,Social Workers, Special Ed Teachers, Psychologists, Guidance Counselors? Does Article 11 “teachers shall also include instructional support/resource personnel and student services personnel…” explain the earlier question? If so, why does it say, “for the purpose of this article(article 11)?”

Article XVII & XVIII
Paras, support staff, & Office Staff do NOT get a step, rather a 2.3% increase + a one time $331 supplement.

MOU 2014 Health Insurance Plan:

Not sure what item 3 means: “Benefits Salary WILL be defined”…but “will remain at present levels…determined…2011,” but will be followed by 2014 Salary Bands…

which is it? Is it changing in 2014 or remaining at 2011 levels?

Premium Increases:

2014 increase ranges 12-43% OAP10 = $1601 annual increase in premiums alone

2014 increase ranges 21-41% OAP20 = $1155 annual increase in premiums alone

29% average increase over last year to maintain same insurance as what you’ve had in the past.

New to this contract is the addition of Cigna’s Local Plus. The October 9th UTD Bargaining Update had this to say about it:

“M-DCPS wants the Local Plus Plan to be the free premium option for employee only coverage. [MDCPS] compared Local Plus to the NHP plan available to M-DCPS employees when United Healthcare was the provider. To review information regarding the Local Plus Plan (click here.) Mr. Clark also stated that it is management’s intention to freeze employee movement on the salary bands for insurance rates. This would mean that even if an employee moved into a higher salary band through step movement or a salary increase their dependent care rates would not increase to the higher band rate. ”

The actual UTD brochure on the plan is here:

Here, it says “24/7/365 service – personalized to you.”

I called the 877-683-2231 Sunday morning 9 AM and got a recording.

I looked up another number (800-244-6224) and got through to a rep eventually who I asked about Local Plus and my out of town children (college towns). She told me to go to
and look up their doctors. If your doctors are not on Local plus and you cannot/will not change, you will pay out of network (full cost up to $1500 individual or $3000 group before Cigna/MDCPS begins to pay 50% of each cost).

My primary care physician is not listed.

You can check here: or just go to and click the orange “find a doctor” in the middle of the page.

If you are able to move to Local Plus without losing a required doctor/service, your cost change will be minimal:

Average Annual Increase in Premiums

Switching from OAP20 to Local Plus COSTS $455.4 per year on average (across all bands).

Switching from OAP10 to Local Plus SAVES $1197 on average (across all bands)

Rate Amounts and Increases FAR EXCEED "Obamacare" Impact - New York Times

Medical Expenses:
OAP10 can expect 65% increase in costs, OAP20 84% increase and OAP20 who switch to Local Plus 63% higher costs on average.

Using Merrill Lynch projections to average 40 yr old and rounding down to $4000 in medical/yr on average, this represents an increase of $2800 in healthcare costs for the individual.
Using the same assumptions for a family of 2 adults and 2 children (10 yrs old) this represents an increase of $7100
( )

this, while the NYT says “The average annual premium for a family rose 4 percent in 2013, to $16,351, according to the survey results released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Annual premiums for individual policies purchased through an employer rose 5 percent, to $5,884.

The 4 percent increase for a family is relatively tame, at least compared with the roughly 10 percent annual increases experienced a decade ago.”

The data also suggest that the new health care law is not leading, at least so far, to a rapid escalation of insurance costs.

“The critics will have a much harder time blaming big premium increases in employer insurance on Obamacare this year, because there aren’t any big premium increases,” Drew Altman, chief executive of the Kaiser foundation, said in a telephone news conference Tuesday.”

Bloodwork Provision:
Finally, the much talked about “bloodwork” provision (#4 of Healthcare MOU).
First, we can reject this. Our union can negotiate this away, our employer isn’t mandated to require this information.

Second, they are limited in how they can use this…however, who is watching the henhouse? The employer who is self-insuring. I would think an invitation to the inspector general to regularly look into practices would be minimal requirement for accountability of MDCPS.

Here’s a great article on the increased frequency of employers instituting such “wellness” checks:

Here’s legal counsel’s interpretation:

“The general rule: Federal law generally prohibits plans from charging different premiums to different employees based on a health factor. However, there is an exception for “bona fide wellness” programs. These programs allow an employer to vary premiums up to 20% based on a health factor (such as cholesterol, weight, smoking) but only if the employer offers a reasonable alternative to those for whom it is unreasonably difficult to meet the standard.

For example, let’s say the standard is a cholesterol count of 200. If an employee is below 200, he/she gets the better premium. This is okay so long as the employer offers an alternative standard to employees who are above 200. For example, take a cholesterol drug or attend nutrition classes.

Voluntary programs available to all outside of the medical plan are generally okay – for example, a gym discount, or a reward for attending a health fair.

Health Risk Assessments [like measurement of blood pressure and waist circumference] are sort of a legal land mine under the Americans with Disability Act and GINA [which protects genetic privacy], but it depends on what is asked and what it is used for.”

Article XI
appears to require lesson plans of instructional support/student services personnel now? what will these look like?

Does Article 11.2 completely reverse the prior prohibition “IPEGS…Planning shall not be imposed” now reads “must be adhered to by instructional personnel.” What will this mean/change on a day to day basis in the classroom? how will this affect our workload? Is this a way to enforce Common Core elements (under any name change by the state)? IPEGS Performance Standard 3 says:

The teacher uses appropriate curricula (including state reading requirements, if applicable),
instructional strategies, and resources to develop lesson plans that include goals and/or
objectives, learning activities, assessment of student learning, and home learning in order to
address the diverse needs of students.”

Article XXI
Warning: Article 21.1.B.4 Wipes out Contractually won due process steps.

Appendix C: RIF (order of termination):

Applies to all positions:
Interim Teachers terminated 1st
Probationary Teachers 2nd
Annual Contract in order of summative eval scores
PSC’s similarly
CC’s similarly

Where evaluation scores are tied, seniority will be used.

Appendix C.c “A layoff may occur WHENEVER the Board deems necessary” – no union negotiation or debate?

Appendix C.f “The board shall determine…” after mentioning a joint committee of the Board/UTD, the Board gets sole decision making.

Article XXVIII
Article 28.D.3 is a continuation of Karen Aronowitz’ concessions – it cuts the union out of the determination of whether state/local funding is insufficient to fulfill the contract.

1985-88 Contract specifically says “the board or union may…”

1997-2000 Contract said “By mutual agreement…In the event the percent increase/decrease… is inadequate, the parties agree to reduce to the economic provisions…to the percentage provided…hold 1997 salaries harmless…and 1998-1999 subject to collective bargaining.” Fed has perpetuated Karen’s surrender of our union to MDCPS management’s.

Article IV: Contracts

I would keep legislative adaptations of the contract to a minimum in case legislation changes or court challenges prevail so we are not saddled by our contract unnecessarily, as we were by Karen’s incorporation of SB 736 terms into 2009-2012 Contract. Judge overturned but said districts with contract language had to abide by contract language. It would be better to be silent and allow legislation to dictate than to specify and run that risk again. Appendix C.u. does ok on this from this layperson’s reading, but a lawyer should be consulted as to the overall impact of legislative incursions in our contract.

Appendix E. Section 1.A.4
Where are the “Credential Payment provisions?”

Appendix E. Section 2.B.2.n Cant for the life figure out what this refers to…switching back from part-time hourly (AT/AU) to nurses’ schedule?
I think they mean 2.B.2.m:
“l. Each 12 months of service as an instructional nurse shall be allowed for registered nurses, if employed as an instructional nurse (effective 2003-2004 school year).
m. Each 687 hours or more of part-time teaching for MDCPS on the AT or AU salary schedule during any one fiscal year, if and when employed on a full-time basis, excluding emergency substitute service. Commencing with the 2006-2007 school year, each 500 hours or more of part-time teaching in an accredited college, or community college, and/or university during any one fiscal year.
n. All employees who have a change in status from AO/CO Salary Schedules to AT/AU Salary Schedules and subsequently return to the AO/CO Salary Schedule shall have their experience while on the AT/AU Salary Schedule credited according to Appendix E, Section 2(B)(2)(l).”

This shows this mistake cropped up at least by the 2006 contract…

Article XII Hiring:

Failure to complete & prove 6 hours of class in-field or passed certification test in-field will be terminated. This is much “tighter” language than before. Doesn’t seem to leave for much defensive action.

Article XXVI: professionalization:
Job Sharing is dumped.

Appendix E Section 1.A.8
seems to limit/curtail larger (long awaited) steps. “issues of fairness and/or disparity” are vague, undefined terms. could be very broadly interpreted by the adverse management and/or the weak union.

B.12.a reduces/limits responsibility of district for wrong salary payments from 15 years to 3 years.

Where the employee made the mistake, reduces/limits from 5 to 2 years responsibility.

Where district overpaid, employee payback period reduced from 5 years to 1 year.

Article XVII
Hourly Employees/Support Staff/Etc get overtime payment specified at time and a half calc’d by annual salary divided down to the hour.

Finally, MDCPS proposal #5: RTTT and IPEGS continue.

Really? Isn’t this a fail?

I recommend a “NO” Vote on this proposed Contract.

We’ve already seen that voting in insurance changes and HOPING for the best cost each of us thousands of dollars in healthcare increases…this will do more of the same with a matching loss in Job Security, Dignity, and Due Process.

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  • Nitothe Blue

    excellent job. if only everyone would read your write-up.