Colleagues,

As you prepare to return from a long but chilly weekend, here’s a brief update on a few current topics:
– Negotiations. Our current contract expires on June 30th of this year and we have already begun preparations for bargaining a successor agreement. Part of our preparation is to survey our members about their priorities and interests. We will soon email to you a negotiations survey and we hope that you will take the time to complete it and to provide us the needed input.
– SpEd Impact Bargaining. For the last several months, we have been working to address teachers’ concerns with issues related to Special Education. Impact Bargaining sessions with the RCSD will finally begin this Tuesday. ASAR, the union representing principals and other administrators, also raised concerns and has worked collaboratively with the RTA and the District to help resolve them. Additionally, joint recommendations for changes in Special Education, developed jointly by RTA and ASAR, have been submitted to the District and we are awaiting the District’s response. 
 
– Paid Family Leave. The newly enacted Paid Family Leave Act automatically applies to the private sector but does not automatically apply to the public sector (including public school districts). In the public sector, it must first be negotiated by the employer and the bargaining units. We have already indicated to the Rochester City School District that this is a key priority for us during the upcoming negotiations for a successor contract. We will keep you informed about the progress of our efforts to secure this important benefit for our members.
 
– Sabbaticals. If you are considering applying for a sabbatical leave next year, you may want to come to a meeting at the RTA (30 N. Union Street, Suite 301) this Tuesday, January 9, from 4:30 – 6pm. RTA’s Sabbatical Committee members will be available to explain the process, assist with the application, and respond to your questions. No appointment necessary.
 
– RTA’s MLK Awards. As we do every year, we will honor Rochester students who most adhere to the values and virtues of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year, one student from each of the 43 participating schools has been identified by the school’s teachers. The awards ceremony will be at the School of the Arts Auditorium on Tuesday, January 16, beginning at 6pm. We congratulate the award recipients who represent so many other deserving Rochester students.
– Rochester Teachers Care. This week’s video <https://youtu.be/r2OsmvZyuuM> features RTA’s Holiday Food Baskets program. Through this effort, Rochester teachers provide holiday cheer to two families of our students from every school in our District. Kudos to RTA Action Committee’s Dave Wurz and Dawn Hohmann, and all RTA Faculty Representatives and teachers who devote time and energy to make this act of caring and kindness possible. If you know of any other program or colleague that should be featured in our weekly Rochester Teachers Care video series, please email Aimee Rinere <arinere@rochesterteachers.com> or Matt Lavonas <mlavonas@rochesterteachers.com>.
Please call (546-2681) or email us if you have any questions or need assistance. Visit the RTA website <www.rochesterteachers.com> for the latest information and announcements.
Adam Urbanski, RTA President