National Staff Organization and Arkansas Staff Organization Calls for Sanctions Against Arkansas Education Association

The Arkansas Staff Organization (ASO) is calling for sanctions against the Arkansas Education Association (AEA). The Arkansas Education Association is demanding “take backs” from ASO that are, to say the least, anti-employee and anti-union.

The AEA Management Team lead by Tracey-Ann Nelson, Executive Director, is demanding that ASO ratify a two-tier salary schedule that would reduce the starting salary of Associate Staff by $6,811 and reduce the starting salary of Professional Staff by $19,578. This would potentially make Professional Staff salaries the lowest in the country. For Associate Staff, this reduction drops their starting salary from just above $15 per hour to approximately $12.26 per hour (based on 2080 hours per year). As our Education Association employers argue and advocate for “living wage” campaigns across this country, where does Nelson and her Management Team believe the “support professionals” employed by AEA fit into this picture? What will happen when Arkansas school superintendents find out AEA doesn’t practice what it preaches?

She is also demanding that current ASO members triple their contributions to the pension plan over a three-year period while “new” employees (who are working under the “reduced salary schedule”) would make contributions of 7% by the end of the proposed three-year agreement. Lastly, Nelson is demanding that all ASO members (current and future) pay a whopping 50% of the health insurance premiums associated with employee & spouse coverage and a whopping 50% of the health insurance premiums associated with family coverage.  All while she is only offering a measly 2.97% COLA over three (3) years. One can easily see that by the time ASO members “give back”, they will be taking home less than when they started. 

On Tuesday, March 3, the members of the Arkansas Staff Organization unanimously rejected the above “last best offer” from Nelson and the AEA Management Team. It should be noted that in December 2019, the ASO membership rejected the EXACT SAME OFFER from Nelson and the AEA Management Team. You should also be aware that there are pending grievances regarding subcontracting of bargaining unit work and inappropriate placement of new employees on the current salary schedule.

Our Sisters and Brothers in ASO stand ready and prepared to bargain a fair contract that is in the best interest of the ASO members and in the best interest of AEA members. NSO has deployed a bargaining specialist to assist and accompany the ASO Team. They are now in need of our assistance.

The NSO Executive Committee has unanimously approved sanctions against the Arkansas Education Association. In Accordance with NSO sanction procedures, NSO (on behalf of ASO) is requesting that all job postings made by the Arkansas Education Association be boycotted. We also request that NSO members boycott all support, training, or assistance requested by AEA. Lastly, we ask that all affiliate presidents forward the sanction information to all members so that it can be timely distributed prior to the opening of any positions within AEA.

 “This is the worst thing I have seen in my twenty-years of union work. Rather than make investments into the people who perform the work, Nelson and the AEA Management Team chose to strip the people who they will turn to and ask them to do more for less. I don’t understand how Nelson and her Management Team will (in the future) be able to stand before Legislators and Superintendents and ask them to do more for AEA members when they refuse to do for the very Staff that hold AEA together on a daily basis, fighting for better salaries, suitable healthcare and secure pensions.” – Brad Darjean, NSO President 

We need every NSO member to email Tracey-Ann Nelson, Executive Director, of the Arkansas Education Association and tell her that ASO members deserve RESPECT, they deserve a LIVING WAGE, they deserve to be treated with DIGNITY and they deserve A FAIR CONTRACT! NO TAKE-BACKS!!