September 13, 2023

Cost-of-Living Adjustment for KUSD Staff: Community Press Conference

The Kenosha Education Association hosted a press conference on Thursday, August 31 at the Kenosha Union Club to provide an update about negotiations between KEA and Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) around a cost-of-living base wage adjustment for the teacher bargaining unit. KEA was joined by the president of the Racine Educators United as well as other local labor and community leaders, to address fair pay, working conditions, and what the impact of a growing recruitment and retention crisis in public schools has on the entire Kenosha community.  Read the negotiations update or watch the press conference here.

Negotiations Update
KEA entered this year’s negotiations with an initial proposal of an 8% cost-of-living base wage adjustment and KUSD offered a 4% cost-of-living base wage adjustment. After discussion with members of our union, the KEA Bargaining Team offered a counter proposal of 6% as a good faith attempt to acknowledge the district’s financial challenges, while still being mindful of the untenable professional and financial situation many educators have found themselves in over the last several years.

Despite multiple follow up conversations and compelling and factual arguments made by our team, the KUSD School Board refused to offer anything above a 4% base wage increase, and therefore we have reached an impasse. During the special meeting held by KUSD on Thursday, August 31, the KUSD School Board voted to declare an official impasse and impose the 4% base wage increase. This means negotiations for the 2022-23 cost-of-living base wage adjustments have officially ended.

As a union, we know that to attract and retain the best educators for our students, our professional experience and judgment must be recognized and respected through fair and competitive compensation. We will not let the dignity of our labor as education workers be diminished or insulted by willingly agreeing to an unacceptable offer.

While this is frustrating and disappointing, you should be incredibly proud of what you and your colleagues achieved leading up to and during the negotiations process:

  • More than 1,000 signatures on Spring 2023 petition
  • More than 700 postcards sent to School Board members
  • Hundreds of teachers delayed submitting contracts
  • Multiple Meet & Confer sessions with KUSD leadership
  • Over 100 educators and community members in attendance at the August School Board meeting with more than 20 supportive speakers

All of this is an impressive display of worker power that helped to move the Fair Pay Campaign forward. I am confident that without your commitment and willingness to take action, not even a 4% offer would not have been entertained nor would we have secured formal meet and confer sessions to discuss working conditions. Despite the outcome, we have much to be proud of and our work as a union does not stop here. For more information about next steps, members should check their personal email with updates. If you are not a member and want to be part of the movement to improve our public schools in Kenosha, sign up today!