Sunday, April 14, 2013

Let's Remember Who Pays the Bills

The salary of the president of WEA is higher than that of 32 governors--$144,797 plus $59,754 in benefits. 


We’ve been told that the WEA’s budget has been under strain due to a declining membership and stagnate wages. We’ve also been told that all of the 21 uniserv councils are similarly suffering, and that five in particular are in imminent danger of going flat-out bankrupt—my uniserv, 4th Corner, is one of the five. My uniserv delegates reported vague warnings sporadically throughout the year that finances were an issue, but no substantive information or proposal made its way to my membership until about a week before we were asked to vote on a 48% increase in dues to support the uniserv next year, and then another 15% increase the year after. Level V staff directors earn a maximum of $126,802 (plus the $59K in benefits) and 7 out of 10 Level V staff directors are at the maximum.

Now, I’m not suggesting that anyone is necessarily overpaid. My association has received excellent service from various staff directors assigned to us and from the central office as well—when, from time to time, we’ve needed assistance. I have to be honest in that except for assistance in bargaining, grievances, contract maintenance, and separation agreements provided by staff directors, our uniserv council itself does not materially or positively affect the members of my local.

I am, however, strongly suggesting that we keep in mind who pays the bills. A beginning teacher earns a base pay of $33,618; a beginning paraeducator in my district makes $13.31 an hour. We also need to live within our means. In my local, we made reductions and economies when our membership declined. We did not raise dues.

One of the challenges of the next WEA president is strengthening local leadership, reorganizing uniserv councils while most likely reducing staff or salaries or benefits.

No comments:

Post a Comment