Like all of you, I am infuriated by the revised Deficit Elimination Plan submitted by the Emergency Manager, which includes the 10 percent reduction of salaries effective Oct. 1. This is on top of the restructured health care plan imposed on us, as well as the previous 10 percent pay reduction we've endured since 2011.
DPS cannot cut its way to prosperity, particularly at the expense of the employees whose salaries and benefits are not the reason it is on the brink of bankruptcy.
While some within the DFT are clamoring for some sort of walkout, such an action AT THIS TIME would undermine current efforts to avert the cuts. I urge you NOT to engage in any sort of walkout. The DFT has always prided itself in being a SOLUTION-BASED union and that is currently our focus; to develop a solution. I assure you we will not agree to anything that adversely impacts our membership.
Executive Vice-President Edna Reaves is leading our "fight back" actions recommended by you. We are asking all of our members to participate in these actions. Report to work on Monday, Aug. 25 and be ready to receive students on Tuesday, Sept. 2. As we demand that the district abides by the terms of our collective bargaining agreement, we also ask our members to do the same by reporting to work.
If our parents believe the start of school is in jeopardy, then we risk losing students, and the district risks losing funds. We risk losing our leverage should it become necessary to present a legal challenge to these changes in wages and benefits.
The DFT and the Coalition of Unions are already engaged in grievances challenging the health care changes and those efforts will continue. There has been a public outcry and condemnation of the revised DEP from parents, community leaders, as well as district employees, unionized and non-union alike. This condemning of the DEP has not gone unnoticed. We are currently engaged in substantive discussions, which COULD avert the need for the 10 percent pay cut, and those discussions have been productive.
I know you want the DFT to act immediately, and we have. We are voicing our disgust while mobilizing our members and proposing alternate solutions that will negate the need for a pay cut. I ask you to remember that the two previous times we challenged the EM in court, we prevailed. This occurred because we stayed unified in these fights. We are asking you to demonstrate that same trust as we combat this latest challenge.TOGETHER WE WILL PREVAIL!
Keith R. Johnson, DFT President