Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Teachers’ union finishes negotiations, secures new contracts

The Falls Church Teachers’ Union has secured two contracts to improve the working experience and benefits of teachers. (Photo via the Atlanta Civic Circle)

On March 12, 2024, the Falls Church City School Board approved two contracts with FCCPS teachers and staff after a year of intense negotiations. This follows the ratification of the same contracts by the Teacher’s Union a month prior.

The process began when the Virginia state government passed a law allowing public employees to collectively bargain. Then, in April 2023, the Falls Church City School Board voted and passed a resolution that allowed FCCPS staff to collectively bargain and unionize. This led FCCPS teachers and staff to establish the Falls Church City Education Association (FCCEA), a union to represent them in labor disputes.

The FCCEA is a local branch of the larger Virginia Education Association (VEA), a union that covers teachers and educational staff throughout the state.

According to School Board chair Tate Gould, the contracts codify a system for raises throughout the staff, ties wage increases to inflation and creates formal lines of communication between administration and staff.

“[The contracts] codify the practices that we might not have in policy right now… they codify wages,” he explained. Additionally, the contracts create an official system of communication between staff and the School Board.

Mr. Farrell Kelly believes that the contract being affirmed will boost teacher morale.

“I think having the confidence to know that [wage increases] are guaranteed at a time when inflation is still a source of concern, is a real boon for folks. So there’s a morale benefit. I think it also creates a sense of stability for folks.” said Mr. Kelly, a Humanities teacher and researcher for the FCCEA.

Additionally, Kelly hopes that this precedent for communication and negotiation will continue in the future.

“I hope that staff will have a meaningful voice as we face new challenges together,” he said.

Throughout the process, however, the negotiations faced issues.

“I think anytime you’re in a negotiation, there are going to be roadblocks. And I think we had two groups of people that were very rooted in what they wanted, and it was hard for us…” Dr. Noonan explained. “Ultimately, we were able to get with a mediator who helped us sort of navigate that a little bit and we were able to come to a nice compromise and resolution.”

Despite these issues, both sides eventually settled on a contract, and Mr. Kelly hopes that this will mean good things for staff and students alike.

“We often think about contracts as being about staff, but one thing I know about the staff of FCCPS is that we want the best schools possible for our kids. We’re going to be happy if we’re doing right by our students. And so sometimes it’s portrayed as staff getting what they need at the expense of students. But what the staff want is what’s best for kids.”

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About the Contributors
Anna Goldenberg
Anna Goldenberg, News Editor
Anna is a sophomore, and this is her second year writing for the Lasso. Every few months she will become obsessed with a shiny piece of media, so her interests change a lot. She also likes reading, baking, and her dog.
Binyamin Hassan
Binyamin Hassan, Staff Writer
Binyamin Hassan is a sophomore; this is his first year writing for the Meridian Lasso. He enjoys the process of journalism, and is dedicated to the acquisition and promulgation of accurate news for and towards the Meridian student community. He appreciates candied ginger.