Holding the Line for 40K in the Old Line State
As of the 2008-2009 school year, all of Maryland's 24 school districts will start new fully certified teachers at a salary of $40,000 or more.
The victory follows a Maryland State Teachers Association (MSTA) statewide compensation campaign to secure a competitive salary for all represented employees, including a $40,000 starting salary for teachers and a living wage for education support professionals.
Two years ago, only eight districts offered starting salaries of $40,000 or more, and MSTA was determined to hit the 100 percent mark by this school year.
MSTA, a union driven by strong local affiliates, attributes much of its local salary success to member organization, statewide and regional bargaining coordination, advance preparation for local negotiations, and intensive MSTA training of local bargaining teams on everything from the "nuts and bolts" to advanced topics.
With MSTA assistance, locals prepared for bargaining 18 months in advance. During this time, affiliates surveyed members, collected data, developed concepts and priorities, and networked with other school district unions.
"You can't go to the table expecting to win better compensation language if you start all this just a month ahead of time," says MSTA bargaining coordinator Herman Whitter.
The hard work and coordination paid off, and the National Education Association applauds MSTA for its success and supports states across the country working toward the same goal. For its part, MSTA applauds the "combined effort of our leaders, members, and staff" to reach the $40,000 objective.
Through its nationwide salary initiative, which emerges from state-level campaigns already underway, NEA is pushing for a $40,000 starting salary for all pre-K-12 teachers, appropriate pay for all higher education faculty and staff, and an appropriate living wage as starting pay for all education support professionals.
"MSTA is a great example of what our affiliates are doing all across this country: Engaging members in an effort to improve the learning and working conditions in schools and the living conditions for education professionals outside of school," says NEA Director of Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy Bill Raabe. "NEA affiliates understand the importance of their members working together to improve the quality of education through collective action. They also know that it's right, and professional, for school employees to unite to win professional level salaries for all school employees. Our members go to school every day with the intent of making a positive impact on the lives of the students they serve, for this they deserve professional pay."