Grosse Pointe Public School teachers have more to consider before voting Monday on the proposed contract negotiated behind-the-scenes between the Grosse Pointe Education Association and district officials after an amendment has been added addressing catastrophic illness.
The proposed contract continues to link teacher pay to the district's fund equity, which was a ground-breaking detail put into the last contract, under which the teachers are currently operating.
There are a variety of changes in the proposed contract. Among them is a change in sick time that limits the number of days to be used and requires teachers to pay $120 per day for a substitute for any time beyond the initial 10 days--the change that has drawn the heaviest criticism from teachers.
Originally, the changes did not address catastrophic illness or any exception to the new system for such things as maternity leave. However an amendment was shared with teachers Monday during a question and answer session and then again throughout the week as union officials have been meeting with members at individual schools throughout the district.
Entitled as a "Letter of Understanding Between GPPSS and the GPEA," the agreement outlines a process in which teachers could present their case by providing their medical history to a four-person committee to be considered for waiver of the $120 per day substitute pay.
If a teacher is approved, the cost of the substitute pay will be shared by the Grosse Pointe Public School District and the GPEA.
The letter is not dated but was reached after the proposed contract was originally presented to the teachers March 6.
In this agreement, teachers who would be eligible to go before the committee are those who experience an illness that requires them to be hospitalized for five or more days with a minimum 30-day absence from work or is deemed life-threatening unanimously by the committee.
Teachers are to vote on the proposed contract on Monday and if it is approved, it would take affect March 25. Teachers are expressing concerns about feeling vulnerable in this particular negotiation because while there are significant cuts and changes, if they don't accept it they fear much worse if a contract is not reached and some new state laws take effect.