Pontiac teachers ratify contract

EAST LANSING, Mich., May 29, 2012 — Pontiac teachers overwhelmingly ratified a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, last Thursday evening.  Teachers accepted a two year contract containing wage reductions, increased out of pocket costs for health care, one and a half unpaid work days and a loss of step increases and longevity pay.

“The teachers of this district have stepped up to the challenge and literally helped save the Pontiac Public Schools.  They made major sacrifices for the students, the parents and the community.  They did this even though they bore none of the responsibility for the financial devastation that the district found itself in,” said Aimee, McKeever, President of the Pontiac Education Association.

While taking significant wage and benefit reductions, the bargaining team for the teachers union held fast on a number of issues, including a refusal to remove language limiting class sizes from the contract.  “Anyone who wonders why we do what we do should take a look at this contract.  The financial hits we took while fighting to the bitter end to protect class size limits should provide the answer…it has always been about the students and what’s best for them,” McKeever said.

The contract, which covers the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years took nearly 18 months to negotiate.

“I would like to publicly thank the membership for their patience and give special thanks to the bargaining team, who worked tirelessly for a year and a half to achieve a settlement.  They never gave up and they understood the importance of the term ‘collective bargaining,’ McKeever stated. 

“The significance of their accomplishment cannot be overstated,” said McKeever.

Contact:  Aimee McKeever, PEA President or Dan McCarthy, MEA UniServ director, 248-253-1867