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Service and Education Public Service and Education Public Service and Education UNITED VOICES VOL. 1 NO. 1

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North Dakota United (NDU) is an organization created by the merger of the North Dakota Education Association (NDEA) and the North Dakota Public Employees Association (NDPEA).

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HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY Archuleta Ready to Serve as First President of North Dakota United

Representing over 10,000 working professionals in the public sector, including k-12 teachers and ESP personnel, city, county, state and municipal workers, and faculty and staff at public universities, North Dakota United brings together a wide variety of individuals, of experiences and responsibilities.

United Voices is the official publication of North Dakota United, 301 N 4th Street, Bismarck, ND 58501. Postmaster, send address changes to: North Dakota United 301 N 4th Street Bismarck, ND 58501

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COMMUNICATION SERVICES will help to make our voices heard

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HB1276 Helps Educators and Students Administer Medication.

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Armand Tiberio Executive Director/Consulting Editor

Image Printing Design/Publisher

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North Dakota United member Audrey Haskell, an administrative assistant in the Grand Forks Schools, wrote testimony last Legislative Session that was helpful in getting HB1276 passed. This bill, which authorizes schools to provide medication to students, became effective Aug. 1, 2013.

LET’S TALK LOCALLY Field communication assistance available to members

Good communication is needed at any organization, but it’s going to be vital for a member-driven organization such as North Dakota United. With over 10,000 workers spread out geographically across North Dakota, and divided among job titles and workers, or organization has a whole lot of communicating to do in order to better know each other and how to speak in one united voice.

Linda Harsche Communications Director Kelly Hagen UniServ Director/ Field Communcations Specialist

There’s very little we can be absolutely certain of in this world, but there is this one thing. I can guarantee you, if you are reading these words right now, then that means you are without a shadow of a doubt, currently reading the inaugural edition of United Voices, the official magazine of this brand new organization, North Dakota United.

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Q & A WITH FAY KOPP, Administrator of the Teachers’ Fund for Retirement

TFFR is a pension plan for North Dakota public school educators who are licensed to teach and contracted. School districts and teachers are required by law to participate in TFFR.

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President’s Post

GREAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS, GREAT PUBLIC SERVICE Welcome to North Dakota United!

H By Nick Archuleta NDU President

What is NDU? What does NDU do? Who does NDU

count as members? For which principles does NDU stand?”

ello! My name is Nick Archuleta and I am the president of North Dakota United (NDU). Since taking this position in early July, I have been asked a number of great questions about our organization: What is NDU? What does NDU do? Who does NDU count as members? For which principles does NDU stand? I believe the answers to these questions will provide as good an introduction as any to North Dakota United. What is North Dakota United? North Dakota United (NDU) is the consolidated organization of the National Education Association affiliate, the North Dakota Education Association (NDEA), and the American Federation of Teachers affiliate, the North Dakota Public Employees Association (NDPEA). These two great associations have a long history of effectively representing teachers and public employees in North Dakota. What does NDU do? NDU is the premiere advocate for education professionals and public employees in the state of North Dakota. Our talented and dedicated staff strives tirelessly to provide members with the very best professional development, negotiations assistance and member benefits. In addition, our lobbyists and management team provide the latest information and research to lawmakers as they craft legislation affecting North Dakota’s public service professionals.

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Who does NDU count as members? NDU represents a large cross section of professionals across the state. We proudly count among our membership college professors and social workers, K-12 educators and education support professionals, administrative assistants and tax auditors, health care professionals and snow plow operators, mental health professionals and physical plant specialists. Though our job titles differ, our commitment to the people we serve never falters. We provide the vital services that North Dakotans need every day, and we do it better and more cost effectively than anywhere in America. For which principles does NDU stand? The leadership, staff and professional public employees of North Dakota United are committed to protecting and enhancing the rights of our members. We believe in empowering our members and meeting their needs. Most of all, we will carry out our duties with the utmost integrity, honesty and transparency because our members deserve no less than the best we can be. Again, welcome to North Dakota United. As your president, I look forward to working with you to make a positive difference every step of the way!

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North Dakota United (NDU) is an organization created by the merger of the North Dakota Education Association (NDEA) and the North Dakota Public Employees Association (NDPEA). The Representative Assemblies of both organizations voted overwhelmingly for the merger. The combined membership of the NDEA and NDPEA provides lifetime services to all citizens of North Dakota. Combined membership includes K-12 teachers, ESP, Higher Education, state employees, county employees and municipal employees. The two organizations share a common dedication to the improvement of the economic and professional well-being of members, as well as a dedication to public service and the improvement of the lives of the North Dakota citizens they service. Objectives:

Stephanie Bailey, Minot “I saw the many useful reasons for joining an organization while growing up, when my father and grandfather were active members of their own unions. The benefit to joining North Dakota United is in knowing that you have the backing of over 10,000 fellow members during difficult situations. You never realize how many instances the union steps up and works for your benefit until you get involved.”

To create a new association of professionals better than either of its predecessor organizations; To

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employees who currently lack those rights; To provide support to members to improve the institutions in which they work; To be the voice of our members and the constituents they serve; and To provide better professional development for all members enabling us to better work with communities and the students of North Dakota. An organization of over 10,000 education and public employees serving the public every step of the way!

301 North 4th Street Bismarck, ND 58501 701-223-0450 or 800-369-6332 www.ndunited.org 4

Rebecca Savelkoul, Bismarck “North Dakota United is the negotiation and representative body for employee advocacy. The benefits most important to me include the support of a professional network, access to professional growth, representation in support of a quality working environment, and being a part of a group advocating for teachers and great schools. Locally, NDU is the organization acting as a bridge between employees and administration. NDU represents employees in compensation, benefits, working conditions and advocacy.”

ND United Voices


Richard Aregood, Grand Forks

Alicia Bata, Cavalier

“The first chance I had to join a union, it was the Elevator Constructors, then the Teamsters, then the Newspaper Guild. Now I’m proud to have been part of the North Dakota Public Employees Association and to be a charter member of North Dakota United because, without the union, I can’t effectively help my association brothers and sisters or be helped by them. Solidarity isn’t just a great song.”

“I joined North Dakota United because I truly believe it is vital to be part of a professional organization. Sometimes educators take for granted all the rights and benefits our association gained for them. I never take these for granted; I am proud of what we have accomplished standing together. I cannot even imagine not being part of the organization and fighting for the rights and benefits that give educators and public employees dignity in their jobs.”

Caitlin Draper, Bismarck “There are numerous reasons why I joined North Dakota United. First, it’s so reassuring to know I’m protected in the Legislature, protected in the school board and protected in my classroom. I like knowing that I’m part of something bigger. It’s not just me fighting for my students. I have NDU backing me, standing strong. Also, the professional development opportunities are fantastic and have helped me grow for my students. Imagine an elementary school playground, filled with the voices of children. Now, imagine trying to speak above the voices. That’s what it is like in the North Dakota Legislature. There are many voices against us. NDU gives us the ability to unite and be stronger together.”

Gary Feist, NDU Vice President, Bismarck “I first joined the North Dakota Public Employees Association because I saw that the issues of public employees were not being heard at the Legislature, so I joined with my co-workers to be part of a stronger voice that would speak out for public employees and be part of the solution to the problems employees were facing. Being involved in North Dakota United has allowed me to see the strength and power that can be achieved by a group of employees speaking with a united voice. North Dakota United is the voice for all public employees. We have been effective in moving our issues forward, including salaries and benefits, but now we need you to join us in the effort. Change requires all of us working together in an organized way to achieve our goal.”

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Gloria Lokken, NDU Retired President, Minot “Belonging to my professional organization has always been a top priority. To be the best I could be in my profession, I knew I needed the support of my organization. I know you can only make a difference by being a player in the process. Membership in your organization gives all of us a chance to learn from each other and together form ideas that grow our profession. YOU are important, and YOU are needed. Let’s work together.”

Bruce Maylath, Fargo “To have a robust role as a member of a university, you need an association. I learned this on the faculty in the University of Wisconsin System before being lured to North Dakota State University. Today in Wisconsin, state employees are viewed by some as thralls rather than public servants. North Dakota United reminds decision-makers of the service that our members provide the larger public.”

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STANDING UNITED

North Dakota United officially launches after years of talk and preparation By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications

Prior to this year, two organizations had existed in tandem for decades, both advocating for the rights of public workers and teachers in the state of North Dakota. The North Dakota Education Association can point back to the year 1887 as its inception, and has existed since then to unify and give voice to our state’s educators. The North Dakota Public Employees Association began in 1963, representing state workers and evolving in its membership to include county and municipal workers, and higher education faculty and staff. For many years, these two organizations worked together on a number of issues, because they shared a common cause: improving the living and working conditions of North Dakota’s workers. They may have begun under different terms, run different courses, went about their business in different ways, but at their core, they wanted the same things. NDPEA board member Mike Stebbins said that the shared mission has been obvious to him and to both organizations’ leadership for many years. “The bottom line is that teachers and state employees here in North Dakota have been having the same fights with the Legislature,” said Stebbins. Amber Augustadt, an elementary music teacher and Bismarck Education Association vice president, similarly saw the parallels between the missions of both organizations, and thought the time for merger was now. “The two associations have long shared interests and worked together for the benefit of their members,” Augustadt said. “Both associations were in strong financial shape at the time of the proposed merger, and I felt the time to merge should be when two strong, solid associations could join forces in a sign of strength and unity. Not when one or the other was struggling.” The possibility of merger has been discussed for years, maybe even decades. The challenges were recognized from the start, as it’s never easy to take two distinct entities with so much history and to combine them into a single unit. But the twin attacks from the Legislature on public workers’ and teachers’ pay, their retirement benefits, and statewide initiatives aimed at slicing up tax revenues kept pulling these two organizations together to fight side-by-side for the dignity of all our public workers. Possibilities became reality as the two organizations began official 6

discussions on merging in 2009. In 2011, the NDPEA and NDEA Representative Assemblies overwhelmingly approved a mission statement and principles of unity presented by the Unity Team (which consisted of members of both unions). The Assemblies authorized the Unity Team to draft a constitution and bylaws for a new, merged union that reflected the mission and principles. Hours and hours of work spread out across years went into exploring whether merger would work, and how it could be done successfully if our members approved. And this past February, at a historic joint conference in Bismarck between representatives for both NDEA and NDPEA, both groups voted overwhelmingly to approve merger, and officially aligned more than 10,000 members into one single camp. North Dakota United was born. NDPEA President Gary Feist said the merger was a no-brainer. “We had worked together on so many issues and in so many coalitions in the past,” said Feist, adding that the two unions have always shared one important goal: “We want to make sure that the state of North Dakota has quality public services and quality public education.” Feist will serve as Vice President of Public Employees under North Dakota United. Since the vote in February, a lot of work has gone into forming the foundation of this new entity, which will have members and connections to every community in the state of North Dakota. A constitution was approved, merger and transition agreements have set the path for how leaders would be chosen, staff would be combined and members would be successfully transitioned into being charter participants in North Dakota United. Everything becomes official on Sept. 1, 2013, and these two organizations become one larger, louder, stronger, and more united voice for all public employees and educators. Nick Archuleta, an instructor from Century High School in Bismarck, was voted into office as president of NDEA in June, and under the transition agreement, he will become the first-ever president of North Dakota United. “It is an honor to have been selected for this role in forming the nucleus of an organization that, I believe, will fundamentally alter our entire state,” Archuleta said. “I’ve seen the benefit of merger in

ND United Voices


other states, and the attacks suffered in states where they opposed merger. I believe North Dakota is better off today with the formation of North Dakota United, and I intend to do everything in my power to lead us into the future and to provide a greater voice for every public employee in our state.” The merger has also brought all its combined members into alliance with the nation’s two largest teacher unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. By doing so, North Dakota United members now have access to the combined programs and benefits from these two organizations. And it increases solidarity on a national level between professional educators. AFT President Randi Weingarten said the merger “brings together employees who provide all citizens with the public services — from schools to safe roads to health programs — that are the foundation of North Dakota’s quality of life.” For Rebecca Savelkoul, a marketing and business teacher at Bismarck High School, the added benefits from AFT were a great help in her decision to support merger. “The NDEA members gain all of the benefits of the AFT membership without giving up any of our current benefits,” Savelkoul said. “Access to additional professional development and local organizing strategies are the two biggest benefits that I am excited about utilizing.” All too often, the perception of public employees and teachers runs counter to the dedication they display day in and day out, and the invaluable services they provide. Jan Phelps, a North Dakota United member at the North Dakota Developmental Center in Grafton, said that by combining efforts, this larger union can be more effective in pushing back against this view, and reminding the public how valued these public services are to all our state’s citizens.

“We’re not always looked upon in the best light by legislators,” Phelps said. “I hope the increased numbers will give the union more credibility and clout at the state Capitol when it says things on our behalf.” One of the most important things the merged union can do is to make the public aware of the essential services provided by public employees, who too often go unappreciated, said Ron Franz, who works at the state Department of Human Services in Grand Forks. Stebbins agrees. It’s important, he says, for citizens to understand that state employees, teachers and other public employees are all working to make life better for the people of North Dakota. The NDU member is particularly happy that the state Legislature will no longer be able to employ a “divide-and-conquer” tactic when dealing with state employees and educators. “That’s something the Legislature has tried to do in the past,” Stebbins said. “But that won’t work now.” Karen Christensen, a fifth-grade teacher at Wishek Public School, was elected as NDEA Vice President and will serve as Vice President for North Dakota United. She said she looks forward to the increased prospects, and even the challenges, that will come with this wide-open future. “I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, and unexpected obstacles,” she said. “But it’s a brave new day for everyone in North Dakota United. We have more members, more influence, more benefits. We are 10,000 citizens of our state, sharing the same essential values and ideals, and by working together, we can really make a difference for our teachers and students, and for every person that lives in our state.”

NDEA Merger Assembly representatives applauds as they are joined by delegates of the NDPEA.

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Education Perspectives

COMMITTED TO MEMBERS

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By Karen Christensen NDU Vice President

I am devoted to representing member rights, providing professional support and being a voice for our members.”

he North Dakota Education Association (NDEA) and the North Dakota Public Employees Association (NDPEA) have agreed to join efforts to bring quality education and public service to North Dakota citizens. I am Karen Christensen, a fifth-grade teacher in Wishek, serving as the North Dakota United Vice President of Education. I represent the Pre-K to 20 educators.

My responsibilities as vice president will include chairing the Teaching & Learning Issues Commission. The purpose of this commission would be to expand the ability to reach forums giving “expert” testimony to issues when policy or legislation is being presented. Our voice at the table for Pre-K to post-secondary education would be addressed by those in the field with firsthand knowledge of process and outcomes.

Serving as the Wishek Education Association president for the past 12 years, Southeast Director on the NDEA board for six years, local negotiator, ESPB board, and being a PAAC committee member has enabled me to build a strong professional background. I am honored that members have provided their support and have expressed their confidence in my abilities by awarding me with the opportunity to serve as NDU Vice President alongside Gary Feist, who will represent the public employee members. I am devoted to representing member rights, providing professional support and being a voice for our members.

Serving on the budget committee and personnel committee will also be part of my responsibilities. After completing our initial meeting on Aug. 2 and 3, 2013, I was energized and excited to watch as the roles of our leadership were defined. Role-building will be an ongoing process, as is the growth of our new organization.

My commitment to providing professional support began with the “I Can Do It” program. Alicia Bata, an ITV Spanish instructor from Cavalier, and I have presented this program since 2004. “I Can Do It” was developed to provide educators with a toolkit to assist in creating efficient plans for success in the school district. We present to student teachers, new educators to the profession, and educators looking for assistance in managing the classroom and workplace.

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John F. Kennedy stated, “The United States has to move fast to even stand still.” By taking the step to merge, we have moved in the direction of meeting the needs of our members. Members will be able to assert a proactive strategy to their professions, instead of reacting to what has been imposed. We are facing issues such as bargaining rights, vouchers, evaluation and working conditions. A united front with a strong voice can preserve, protect, and enhance the quality of public service and education. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford speaks to our opportunity as a newly formed union to enhance the lives of North Dakotans through our cooperative efforts.

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WHY DO YOU NEED NORTH DAKOTA UNITED?

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s you begin your career and during your career, one of the actions you will take is joining the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, North Dakota United (NDU) and your local Association. Here are some of the benefits of your membership: Professional Development. The NDU provides its members with training sessions on all aspects of instruction on teaching and learning, human and civil rights, political action in communications, negotiations, classroom management, and other areas of concern to members. Workshops are consistently high quality and offered at no or low cost to members. Representation. Whenever decisions about NDU members are being made, your Association is there representing members’ views. The Association represents members in contract negotiations, legislative decisions, and before other decisionmaking bodies. Liability Insurance. If you are sued, NDU’s liability insurance will provide you with an attorney and $1 million in coverage for any judgment against you.

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Legal Assistance. The NDU’s legal advice goes far beyond liability insurance and attorneys. Any time you have a question about your employment rights or benefits, your UniServ staff will be able to answer those questions. UniServ staff will advocate for you when you have questions or concerns. And, if you need legal assistance, NDU’s attorney is the best in the state in employment-related law and school law. It’s all free to NDU members. Legislative Action. The NDU is recognized as the single most effective voice for educators and public employees in your district, community, state and nation. Networking. Through the NDU Cyberline, you will be connected to other members from across the state and nation, who are dealing with the same joys and frustrations you deal with, as well as kept current with legislative decisions affecting your profession. Information. The NDU is your best source of accurate, timely information. The association keeps current with laws, regulations, and policies. Information is as close as a toll-free telephone call (1-800-369-6332). Public Relations. The NDU informs the public about members’ views and builds members’ images in the public through advertising and public relations activities.

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HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY Archuleta ready to serve as first President of North Dakota United By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications

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epresenting over 10,000 working professionals in the public sector, including K-12 teachers and ESP personnel, city, county, state and municipal workers, and faculty and staff of public universities, North Dakota United brings together a wide variety of individuals, of experiences and responsibilities. Men and women of countless different professions, but all dedicated servants of the public interest, will combine their talents and abilities together as leaders of this new organization. At the forefront of the leaders that make up North Dakota United is its first-ever president, Nick Archuleta. Voted into office as president of the North Dakota Education Association in May, Archuleta subsequently became the president of North Dakota United upon its inception on Sept. 1, 2013, under the terms of the

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merger agreement that paved the way to creating this association. “I am humbled and honored by the results of this election,” Archuleta said. “To be in this position, to make history as the first elected leader of an organization that, I believe, will have a transformative effect on the lives of our public workers, and upon all the citizens of this state, is an incredible honor. I am looking forward to dedicating every effort I am capable of giving, in making this merger and our organization into a success.” Archuleta brings a long history of advocacy for organized labor to his historic post. Working at an anhydrous ammonia distribution terminal in his early years, he saw his first involvement with unions. ND United Voices


“I was asked to be involved with part of this crew that would go up and down the pipeline from all over Texas to Mankato, Minnesota,” he said. “Going inside of these huge ammonia tanks – they’re called ammonia bullets. We’d stop deliveries to them, go inside, pop the tops off, build cribbing underneath them, then go inside and check the sheets for lamination and the welds for cracks. And then replace some of the gauges and that sort of thing. Although we weren’t union in North Dakota, this particular project was being managed out of Beatrice, Nebraska, and that plant was union. So that was sort of my first experience working with unions.” After that job, he went back to school to get his teaching degree, and began his career in education in Minnesota. “I became a member of the teacher’s union in 1982. I would become president of our local, so I witnessed the merger of the Minnesota Federation of Teachers and Minnesota Education Association, and it became Education Minnesota. And I’ve been a union member ever since.” Having been directly involved in the merger of the two largest teacher’s unions in Minnesota, the state chapters of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, Archuleta already knew firsthand the inherent advantages that come with combining these two entities together, when it came time for North Dakota to do the same. “Minnesota is certainly stronger for having merged,” Archuleta said, “and it was a learning experience to be part of it. But I was also influenced by being a real outside observer to what happened in places like Florida and New Jersey and Wisconsin and Indiana, and those places that they resisted merger, and as a result they weren’t very strong when this new wave of Republican governors came in and wanted to wipe them out. Those very same places are now scrambling like crazy to get merged. Those states like Montana and

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Minnesota that had merged before, those are way stronger unions than the others now. But I’m hoping they can come up with more mergers across the country that boost those numbers and, as a result, the influence.” Archuleta comes to his position with a long career as a teacher, as a member of the faculty at Century High School in Bismarck, and a board member of the NDEA. He must now represent teachers and staff of the public school system, but also public workers and university staff and faculty that were before part of the North Dakota Public Employees Association. Embracing that many different minds and viewpoints can be a challenge, but also an opportunity to bring together so many voices into one stronger union. “This isn’t a takeover of a union or anything like that,” Archuleta said. “This is a merger. There are things about both sides that the other side needs to learn about. And we hope to do that. In terms of fairness, it’s important to note that during the transition period, the next three years, we are going to have a board with exactly the same number of members from the public employees union and the education association. So it won’t be dominated by one group.” Education will be the greatest tool to achieving this purpose he said, so that each group knows better what the other one has done. “The thing is that each group has – we call them commissions over at the NDEA, and committees at NDPEA, but they work on similar things like advocacy, and our government-relations commission, for instance. We need to put those groups together soon. So that they’re learning how they prioritize, say, for example, legislative issues or how do they go about endorsing candidates, so that both sides can see how that process works, and then take the best of both of those systems and put them into one.”

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I am humbled and honored by the results of this election. To be in this position, to make history as the first elected leader of an organization that, I believe, will have a transformative effect on the lives of our public workers, but upon all the

citizens of this state, is an incredible honor. I am looking forward to dedicating every effort I am capable of giving, in making this merger and our organization into a success.”

Archuleta wants North Dakota United to make a big impact in the state, from the very beginning. “It’s going to be very important that we brand North Dakota United,” he said. “We don’t need people thinking: ‘Oh, I’m education,’ or ‘I’m a public employee.’ We need them thinking: ‘I’m North Dakota United.’ Because we will be, forever.” Fusing so many different workers together into one organization will bring with it increased influence across all of North Dakota. “When you think about it, almost every community in North Dakota has both public employees and teachers,” he said. And these people vote. The more they have information on how these decisions that affect teaching and public employees is important to their decision. So the more that we can put information in the hands and minds of the public employees and the teachers, whether they’re members of our unions or not, the more we can inform them of what the Legislature does and how it affects them, the better off we’re going to be.”

organization to grow and to make a real impact in every corner of our state. “We’re going to increase union membership. We’re going to organize, and we have the potential of reaching 10,000 more, of doubling the size of this association. We’re going to work like crazy; we’re going to work tirelessly to make sure that happens.” And so Archuleta asks all of our charter members of North Dakota United to embrace this opportunity, get educated about their fellow members, and get active. “Really look at this as a new beginning,” he says. “Make it what they want it to be, to participate, to bring friends, people who aren’t necessarily inclined to join. I believe that North Dakota United is going to have a transformative impact, not just on public employees and teachers, but it’s going to be transformative for the state. I think it’s going to really open up people’s eyes to what is possible.”

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ND United Voices


STUDENTS PLAN ‘Imagination Library’ event By Linda Harsche, NDU Communications

The North Dakota United (NDU) Student Education Association with the help of NDU Retired will be sponsoring an Outreach-toTeach on Oct. 26, 2013, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. (MST) at Bismarck’s three McDonald’s. North Dakota’s First Lady Betsy Dalrymple will be at all three McDonald’s promoting Imagination Library, which was created by the Dollywood Foundation. ND United students and retirees will be reading books to one-to-four-year old children that they can take home, and McDonald’s will be providing free ice cream. So, if you or someone Betsy Dalrymple your know in the Bismarck area North Dakota’s First Lady has a child who is the appropriate age, please bring them to any Bismarck McDonald’s on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. First Lady Betsy Dalrymple is currently promoting Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library throughout the state. The program mails a free, age-appropriate book every month to any enrolled child between the ages of 0-5 at a yearly cost to the community of only $25 per child. Because of Dalrymple’s diligence, there are already 12 counties, 11 cities, and 14 school districts that currently offer Imagination Library: Benson County; Billings County; Bottineau County; Cass County; Golden Valley County; Grand Forks County; Hettinger County; Ramsey County; Renville County; Stark County; Stutsman County; Ward County; Ashley; Beulah; Bismarck/Mandan; Drake; Dunseith; Ellendale; Fairmount; Flasher; Fort Totten; Grafton; Granville; Hazen; Midway Public School District; Napoleon; Park River; Rugby; Stanton; Theodore Jamerson school at United Tribes Technical College; Upham; Velva; Voltaire; Washburn; Williston; Wilton, and Wishek. ndunited.org

How does the Imagination Library work? • The Dollywood (Dolly Parton) Foundation partners with communities willing to bring this gift to the children of their area. • Children who are registered with the program receive a free, age appropriate book each month from birth until the age of 5. • The community partners fund the cost of the books, postage and mailing. • Community Partners register children and promote the program. • The Dollywood Foundation covers all the administrative costs. Why is this program important? • Reading books helps essential brain development. • 90 percent of eventual adult brain growth is achieved in the first three years of life. • Just as a child develops language skills long before being able to speak, literacy skills are developed long before being able to read. • Reading books helps develop healthy physical and emotional responses. What are the benefits? • Promotes and encourages a love of reading among children • Helps ensure that children enter kindergarten with a strong ability to read and an eagerness to learn • Strengthens the literacy level of your community • Promotes parent-child interaction and bonding • The Cost: USA cost = $2/child/month or $24/child/year For more information on enrolling your child in Imagination Library or assistance in bring this wonderful program to your community, please contact http://governor.nd.gov/first-lady/ imagination-library.com or visit the Imagination Library website at www.imaginationlibrary.com. To take advantage of the Out-Reach-to-Teach all you have to do is show up with your children at any McDonald’s in Dickinson on Oct. 26, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 13


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Gary Feist

NDU President, Bismarck nick.archuleta@ndunited.org

NDU Vice President, Bismarck gary.feist@ndunited.org

Archuleta is on leave from the faculty at Century High School in Bismarck where he taught Spanish I and II. Archuleta also served on the NDEA Board of Directors and is former Vice Chairman of the Education Standards and Practices Board, having been appointed by former Governor John Hoeven as well as by Governor Dalrymple.

Gary Feist has worked as a tax auditor for the North Dakota Tax Department for 21 years. He served as president of the North Dakota Public Employees Association for 12 years. He is also currently a member of the State Employees Compensation Commission. He is married, and has three daughters.

BOARD MEMBERS

Karen Christensen

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Karen Askerooth

NDU Vice President, Wishek karen.christensen@ndunited.org

NEA Director, Valley City karen.askerooth@ndunited.org

Karen Christensen is a fifth-grade teacher at the Wishek Public School. She is completing her 20th year with the school. Christensen also serves as a member of the Education Standards and Practices Board. She was appointed by Governor Dalrymple.

Karen Askerooth is a K-3 music teacher at Jefferson Elementary in Valley City and formerly served as President of the Valley City Education Association. She served as a member of the NDEA board and is also a special needs representative for the North Dakota Music Association.

ND United Voices


Jamie Eriksson

Toni Gumeringer

At-Large Director, Mayville jamie.eriksson@ndunited.org

Southwest Director, Bismarck toni.gumeringer@ndunited.org

Jamie Eriksson has worked at Mayville State University for 24 years where she is an administrative assistant. She was a board member for NDPEA. She is married, and has two daughters.

Gumeringer, a speech Language Pathologist in the Bismarck Public Schools, is a former President of the Bismarck Education Association. She has also served as vice president and treasurer. On the local level, she was treasurer of BEA for four years and vice president/president elect for one year. Gumeringer chaired the 2009 NDEA Instructional Conference and co-chaired the 2011 Instructional Conference.

Bill Klimpel

Marella Krein

Stephen Hayton

Faculty/Four-Year Institutions Director, Minot stephen.hayton@ndunited.org Stephen Hayton is an assistant professor of computer sciences at Minot State University, having worked there for 18 years. Hayton served for 12 years on the NDPEA board of directors. He is married, and has one son.

Alan Leintz

University-Maintenance/Trades/ Technical Director, Minot bill.klimpel@ndunited.org

Health and Human Direct Care Director, Bismarck marella.krein@ndunited.org

SCHL-Public School Employees Director, Minot alan.leintz@ndunited.org

Bill Klimpel has worked as a custodian at Minot State University for 13 years, and was a member of NDPEA for 12 years. He served on the board of directors for NDPEA. He is married, and has one son.

Marella Krein has worked for the North Dakota Department of Human Services in Bismarck for 18 years and concentrates in developmental disabilities. She served as treasurer for NDPEA. She is married, and has seven children and 14 grandchildren.

Alan Leintz works as a custodian for Minot Public Schools, and has worked there for 11 years. He previously served on the board of directors for NDPEA. He is married, and has three daughters.

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Retired, Minot gloria.lokken@ndunited.org

Southeast Director, Fargo david.marquardt@ndunited.org

Gloria Lokken of Minot served as NDEA president from 2001-07, served two terms as NDEA vice president, two terms as NW Region director, and also served on numerous local, state, and national committees. She formerly taught at Edison Elementary in Minot for over 28 years. Lokken was an active member of the Minot Education Association serving in many capacities including MEA President.

David Marquardt, a first-grade teacher in Fargo, presently serves as President of the Fargo Education Association. Besides being a member and on the North Dakota Reading Association Valley Reading Council Board for the past 10 years, Marquardt has also been a Project WET facilitator in the state since 2002. He has received several awards for his hours of promoting water education to thousands of students and educators throughout North Dakota.

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BOARD MEMBERS

Doug Munski

Henry Riegler

Tyann Schlenker

Faculty/Doctorate-Granting Universities Director, Grand Forks doug.munski@ndunited.org

Faculty/Two-Year Institutions Director, Bismarck henry.riegler@ndunited.org

At-Large Educational Support Director, Fargo tyann.schlenker@ndunited.org

Dr. Doug Munski is a tenured professor of the Department of Geography at the University of North Dakota, having been part of the faculty for 35 years. He is the only member of the NDU board to have served on the boards of both the North Dakota Education Association and North Dakota Public Employees Association. He is married.

Dr. Henry Riegler is an associate professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education at Bismarck State College, having worked there for over 22 years. He was a board member for NDPEA. Riegler has been a licensed psychologist in North Dakota since 1998 and consults at the Children’s Special Health Services Cleft Palate Clinic operated by the North Dakota Department of Health. He is married, and has three kids and two grandkids.

Tyann Schlenker of Fargo is an Attendance Clerk at Fargo South High School. She served on the FEA membership organizing team, the FEA Board of Directors, and was an NDEA Ambassador on the Ready Child Committee. She is very active in the AMVETs Auxiliary and was a former North Dakota AMVETs Auxiliary President.

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ND United Voices


Brenda Seehafer

Northwest Director, Rolla brenda.seehafer@ndunited.org Brenda Seehafer, a seventh, eighth grade English and seventh grade Study Skills/ Title I teacher at Rolla, taught at Devils Lake Region State College, Devils Lake Schools, and Wolford before coming to Rolla. She has served as president of the Rolla Education Association, the Alternative Compensation Ad Hoc Committee of the NDEA Ambassadors, and as a member of the NDEA/NDPEA Unity Team.

Mike Stebbins

Maintenance Trades & Technical Director, Coleharbor mike.stebbins@ndunited.org Mike Stebbins works for the North Dakota Department of Transportation in road maintenance, and drives the snowplow north of Underwood. He was a board member for NDPEA. He is married, and has three children and two grandchildren.

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Carrie Smith

Social Services & Counseling Director, Fargo carrie.smith@ndunited.org Carrie Smith is a social worker, having worked for Cass County Social Services for 20 years. She was an officer for NDPEA, serving as secretary. She has two daughters.

David Wood

Brad Srur

Northeast Director, Grand Forks brad.srur@ndunited.org

Brad Srur, Grand Forks Education Association President, is an elementary remedial math teacher. He has served as both negotiator and vice president of the Grand Forks Education Association. He served as a former board member of the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Association and conducted workshops about inclusion of Special Education students in the regular classroom.

Patricia Lopez

NDU At-Large Ethnic-Director, Fargo david.woods@ndunited.org

Student, Mayville (nonvoting member)

Woods is an English teacher at Woodrow Wilson Community High School in Fargo. He has been the Vice President of the Wahpeton Reading Council, a member of the Fargo Forum Reader’s Board, the SLATE representative of the North Dakota Council for Teachers of English, and chairperson of the NDEA’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Commission.

Lopez, NDU Student President, is a junior at Mayville State University. She is originally from Clarissa, MN, and is majoring in English Education.

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UNITED VOICES Serving the public every step of the way!

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ND United Voices


COMMUNICATION SERVICES By Kelly Hagen UniServ Director/ Field Communication Specialist

Will help to make our voices heard

There’s very little we can be absolutely certain of in this world, but there is this one thing. I can guarantee you, if you are reading these words right now, then that means you are, without a shadow of a doubt, currently reading the inaugural edition of United Voices, the official magazine of this brand new organization, North Dakota United.

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can assure you, also, that we couldn’t be more grateful than we are that you’re reading our magazine. That really means a lot to us. You have improved our lives.

There are only a few hundred thousand residents here. I’m sure we won’t have any trouble getting in touch with all of them.”

My name is Kelly Hagen, and my job title at North Dakota United is UniServ Director – Field Communications Specialist. Previously – something along the lines of a month ago – I was Communications Specialist for the North Dakota Public Employees Association. I am half of the communications staff of North Dakota United, along with Linda Harsche, our Communications Director, and we are tasked with the responsibility of, quite plainly, telling every living man, woman and child in this state, and as many as we can reach outside of our borders, about this new thing, North Dakota United, and how we will change the landscape of North Dakota. There are only a few hundred thousand residents here. I’m sure we won’t have any trouble getting in touch with all of them.

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This magazine is a part of that effort, though. Every member of this organization will have this magazine mailed directly to them, seven times per year. In this first edition, you will find an enormous amount of information about what North Dakota United is, who we represent, what benefits our members enjoy, and what we hope to accomplish for our members and for all public workers, in the classroom, on university campuses, in city, county and state governance. This is information that will be of great assistance to you as a member. But it is also information that you can share with non-members. If you have family or friends who want to know more about this association you belong to, this magazine can help them better understand it. If you have co-workers on the job, who you think might benefit by learning about our organization, and may even be interested in joining us, I can say with full certainty that we would really appreciate it if you passed this magazine on to them. 19


This magazine is available in print, or in electronic format at our website, www.ndunited.org. Anyone who wants to know more about North Dakota United should be able to do so, and we intend to make every effort to get this information into their hands. That’s what we do, as communicators of this great new organization we have formed and are so very proud to be associated with, at North Dakota United. Listen to the radio across the state in the upcoming months, and you will hear the voice of President Nick Archuleta telling you about who we are and what we do as public workers, in advertisements and appearances on radio shows, like “News and Views” with Joel Heitkamp. Open your local newspaper, and you will read letters to the editor and coverage of our leadership’s visits with editorial boards. On the Internet, you can find information about North Dakota United at our new, official website, www.ndunited.org, and on social media through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We will be sending out communications regularly to our members electronically, through e-mails, text messages and online applications, to keep you

informed about what we’re doing, who we are, and what you can do to help make our 10,000 combined member voices heard in our public schools, universities, worksites, and in the state Capitol. We will be working with our members at the local level, empowering them to build communications systems among their groups, and spread the word among their local’s members, and out into their communities, what their locals do every day to represent and advocate for their people. You can’t be assured of too much in life, but be assured about this: You will be hearing from North Dakota United. The voices of our 10,000 members and growing will be heard, and we will be listened to. A great noise is coming. We promise you that. (Please contact the North Dakota United communications team by calling our office at 701-223-0450, or e-mail Linda Harsche at linda.harsche@ndunited.org, or Kelly Hagen at kelly.hagen@ndunited.org.)

Listen for these radio spots playing around the state:

“STEPS”

“FOUNDATION”

North Dakota students will soon begin another school year. And whether they’re starting Kindergarten or their senior year, our educators will guide them every step of the way.

From the moment you wake each morning to the time you go to sleep at night, North Dakota’s public employees are providing you and your family with the essential services you need each day.

Hi, I’m Nick Archuletta, president of North Dakota United. N-D-U members make sure our children receive an exceptional education. Their work isn’t glamorous… It’s better than that – it’s lifechanging. So next time when you see an educator, thank them for guiding steps and changing lives. Brought to you by North Dakota United…. serving the public every step of the way! 20

Hi, I’m Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United. Every day, public workers respond to emergencies, maintain our infrastructure, and build the foundation our society stands on. N-D-U members provide quality services our citizens deserve. And for that, they deserve our thanks. Brought to you by North Dakota United…. serving the public every step of the way! ND United Voices


Public Service Perspectives

GREAT PUBLIC SERVICE STARTS

with North Dakota United

I By Gary Feist Vice President of Public Employees

But, the most important thing you can do as a

member is to ask a fellow co-worker to join you as a member of North Dakota United.”

have been a tax auditor with the Office of State Tax Commissioner for 21 years, and I am so proud of work I do daily on behalf of the citizens of North Dakota. I first became a member of the North Dakota Public Employees Association a few years after I was hired, when a co-worker asked me and several other co-workers to join the only organization that was speaking out for public employees. I didn’t like the way things were going for public employees at the time, and I wanted to help make a difference. I realized that as a state worker, if I wasn’t a member of the organization that represented the rights and dignity of our public workers, I was part of the problem and not the solutions that were being offered by NDPEA. I was voted president of NDPEA in 2001 and have been part of the many great things that our members have accomplished through a strong united voice of our members and of all state employees. That has been a point of great personal pride for me, as well, to serve in a leadership position for this organization I believe so strongly in, and to work alongside dedicated public servants, giving freely of their own personal time to serve on our boards and committees and represent the best interests of public workers. On Sept. 1, we will take that unified voice to a whole new level by becoming North Dakota United. With state employees, higher education faculty and staff, school

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support personnel, and K-12 teachers standing together with a united voice, we will be the organization that will change North Dakota for the better and make sure that the citizens of North Dakota will continue to receive the highest quality public services. As Vice President of Public Employees for North Dakota United, I will continue to listen to all of you and advocate along with you for issues that are important to all of our public employees, no matter where they work. North Dakota United needs all of you, right now, to become active in your organization. Your activism can be as easy as attending a meeting, contacting your legislator, or writing a letter to the editor supporting the great public services that public employees provide. But the most important thing you can do as a member is to ask a fellow co-worker to join you as a member of North Dakota United. Standing and working together we can make a difference. We have been, as members of NDPEA and NDEA, the unified voice for workers and quality public services, and we will continue to be as North Dakota United. As we launch this new organization and begin to alter the landscape in our state, now is the time to get involved, and help us lead the way in North Dakota. I look forward to speaking for you, and with you all.

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HB1276

Helps educators and students administer medication By Linda Harsche, NDU Communications Director

Audrey Haskel

All I could do was mumble something

about needing to go wash up and once I was safely locked away from everyone else, I started to shake, cried a bit, and then I got angry.”

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orth Dakota United member Audrey Haskell, an administrative assistant in the Grand Forks Schools, wrote testimony last Legislative Session that was helpful in getting HB 1276 passed. This bill, which authorizes schools to provide medication to students, became law effective Aug. 1, 2013.

he had a spasm. His arms flew in all directions knocking the stand over, sending the sticky mess sailing wherever the tube whipped.”

Haskell’s testimony explained that she has been an administrative assistant in the Grand Forks Public Schools for almost 16 years. “Before that, I was a special education paraprofessional in a self-contained resource room,” she said. “My students had emotional disabilities, and I worked with physically challenged students during summer school.”

According to Haskell, she had been in the process of securing the tube into the stint. “When he jerked and jumped,” Haskell said, “he knocked my arm and I heard a sucking sound. To my horror, the end of the stint that was supposed to be inside this young man’s side was now dangling three inches outside his stomach. I had no idea if I was hurting him or what kind of damage I had done to his inside hookups.”

According to Haskell, during one of her first summers in the district, she was working with a young man who was non-verbal, blind, wheelchair bound and on a feeding tube. “During the first few days,” she said, “I was shown how to meet his needs, diapering, transferring to and from the wheelchair, and managing his feeding tube.”

Haskell called for help as she was trying to contain the stream of food that was still squirting out all over her and her charge. Finally, her supervising teacher came into the room to see what all the commotion was about. “I was trying to stay calm,” said Haskell, “and at the same time explain what had happened, thinking she needed those details.”

Haskell said she watched studiously to make sure she memorized every step of the demonstration. “I knew it would be one of the few times I would see the process from start to finish before I was expected to do it myself,” she said.

She very calmly took the end of the tube from Haskell’s clenched fingers and gently pushed the excess tubing and stint attachment back into its proper place in his side all the while saying, “I guess I should have showed you this part, it sometimes freaks people out the first time it happens.”

Haskell explained the first day went well, although she was pretty shaky and no one even peeked into her room to check on her. “The following day was a whole different story,” she 22

said. “Just as I was getting his bag of pureed lunch sifted and started to hook the tube into the attachment that protruded out of his side,

“All I could do was mumble something about needing to go wash up and once I was safely ND United Voices


locked away from everyone else, I started to shake, cried a bit, and then I got angry,” said Haskell. “I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to never feel that helpless again and find out how I could make sure others never would either.”

empower paraprofessionals, secretaries and other school employees to be as prepared as they could be in their jobs. Haskell submitted her testimony to prevent others from having to perform such procedures.

Haskell started looking for outlets of viable trainings for classified employees and professional development offerings that would

NDU ESP President Tyann Schlenker of Fargo meets with Audrey Haskell.

HB 1276, which authorizes schools to provide medication to students, became effective Aug. 1, 2013. Prior to enactment of this law, school personnel had no legal authority to provide medication to students unless they had appropriate medical certification. The new law authorizes schools to provide medication to students within parameters established for safety reasons and grants liability protection to schools, school board members and school personnel providing medication to students, so long as the medication is provided in good faith and in accordance with law. 

HB 1276 BECOMES LAW; TRAINING SCHEDULED

College — a community college that has a medication training program in place used by North Dakota employers. Training will include: • Individual’s authority and role in providing medication • Proper medication storage, inventory and disposal • Proper techniques for providing medication including, but not limited to, understanding pharmacy labels, standard precautions for infection control, six rights of medication administration, and measuring and dispensing protocols

Under the law, school personnel (teachers and ancillary staff) may opt-out of providing medication to students if they choose. Those who choose to provide medication to students must receive education and training in providing medication and parental consent prior to performing this service.

• Appropriate documentation of all medication provided and confidentiality requirements

The North Dakota School Boards Association (NDSBA) will be sponsoring statewide training on providing medication in late September and early October. The training will be held at eight locations coordinated through the state REAs and will be taught by an RN from Minnesota State Community and Technical

• Appropriate action if unusual circumstances occur (e.g., medication error, adverse reactions, student refusal, and how and when to seek medical consultation or assistance)

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• Basic medical terminology, abbreviations and symbols related to providing medication

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AN ORGANIZED EFFORT

North Dakota United embarks on organizing drive By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications With over 10,000 members, North Dakota United will start out on Sept. 1, 2013, with a lot of strength, and a whole lot of gas in the tank. But a strong organization can always be stronger, and the best way to launch NDU in our state is by sprinting out of the gates. Our new organization will have new appeal to teachers and public workers throughout the state, as they see how many members have already signed up, and the full strength that their association can offer to them as that number grows even more. “Holding still isn’t going to be good enough,” said Armand Tiberio, executive director of North Dakota United. “We currently have about 10,000 members from the beginning, but we have the potential of growing to nearly 30,000. We want to make certain that, with our expanded resources, we are able to reach out to every public worker, every teacher, every educator in the state, and show them that this organization exists for them, and can make a demonstrated difference for them in their careers.” As North Dakota United is launching, the entire new organization is in the middle of a dedicated organizing drive. Eighteen sites were chosen across the state, and the staff was divided into five teams to concentrate efforts in these sites and to identify new hires and veteran staff who aren’t yet members, and give them the information they need to come into the organization and receive the added benefits of membership in North Dakota’s largest professional organization of public workers.

We’re going to stuff all the mailboxes, just to let everyone know that they can join us. You don’t have to be a teacher to belong to this group.” Taylor said that the increased pool of workers who qualify for membership in NDU will be an added strength in their pitch to join. “(Our treasurer) said that one of the janitors was talking to her, and said that they didn’t realize that they could join us. So I think now that we say we’re ALL employees, and all public employees – and schools are public – and kind of push that, that we’re all one together, all public employees.” There will always be room for more members in North Dakota United. So all of our members are urged to take this opportunity, as our new organization launches, to spread the word about the organization, and recruit new members to the cause. And you can always receive assistance in setting up events, recruiting volunteers to speak to potential members, or to get literature and educational materials sent to you to hand out, by calling our North Dakota United help center line at 1-800-369-6332.

“North Dakota has among the highest percentages of public workers compared to the private workforce,” said Gary Towne, professor of music at the University of North Dakota. In 2010, North Dakota ranked fifth in the nation in the size of its public workforce, according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, with 49,454 public workers, which represents 16.8 percent of all workers in the state. “So we have the potential for being a very powerful mover in North Dakota affairs,” Towne said. “With a membership of 30,000, that’d be a little over 4 percent of North Dakota’s overall population.” Local leaders like Towne are at the forefront of the organizing drive, with the assistance and resources provided by North Dakota United. As the school year is kicking off and the new organization is getting started, members of the union are meeting with their colleagues and co-workers in office visits, knocking on their front doors, calling and e-mailing, and planning special events to greet public workers who aren’t already members of our organization and invite them to learn more about the association. Becky Taylor, an elementary librarian and president of the Jamestown Education Association, is one member working with NDU staff on an organizing campaign at her workplace. “We kind of figured out that we’re doing OK on the teachers,” Taylor said, “so we’re going to focus more on the ESPs. We have a letter we’re going to send out.

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NDU members gathered in Fargo for a picnic and recruited new members.

ND United Voices


LET’S TALK LOCALLY

Field communication assistance available to members By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications

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ood communication is needed at any organization, but it’s going to be vital for a member-driven organization such as North Dakota United. With over 10,000 workers spread out geographically across North Dakota, and divided among job titles and worksites, our organization has a whole lot of communicating to do in order to better know each other and how to speak in one united voice. On the state level, North Dakota United has a communications staff available to spread the word about the organization and what our union is, what we do and who we are. These functions can include advertising, in radio, television, print or online; facilitating letters to the editor and op-eds; press releases; public service announcements; press conferences; flyers, brochures and publicity materials; promotional merchandise; social media; e-mail and other forms of electronic communications; and on and on. Those same opportunities are available, though, on a local level. In your locals and chapters of North Dakota United, you now have access to learning more about all of the communications systems available to you, so that you can spread the word in your own communities about what your local or chapter is doing, who you are and why potential members should join. Our communications staff consists of Communications Director Linda Harsche and UniServ Director – Field Communications Specialist Kelly Hagen. They are both veteran communicators, familiar with labor relations and the members of both organizations that merged to form NDU. And they are both able to assist any of our members with their own communications needs in the field, and help to empower our locals and chapters to use the tools that are available to them to interact more efficiently with the public and within their own membership. Field communications is a new benefit that has been added to the long list of programs available to our members as part of North Dakota United. Through financial assistance from the National Education Association, our field communications specialist is able to travel anywhere in the state, and meet directly with members, and teach you face-to-face about the many systems at your fingertips,

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NDU Field Communications Specialist Kelly Hagen and Director of Communications Linda Harsche explain the public relations plan for North Dakota United.

which will get your message out to the community, and get people talking about your local and North Dakota United. Setting up social media accounts and properly utilizing them to build an online following is a special skill that all our locals should aspire to achieve, and our field communications specialist can assist you in launching your own. Also putting together online groups through Facebook or Google, so that members can correspond and share information quickly and easily is suggested. Drafting communications plans for your own local and identifying members to assist in carrying them out would be beneficial. Your local or chapter can also receive tips on how to get media attention in your area, and best practices for publicizing your group’s activities and ambitions. To set up a visit from either of our communications staff and utilize our field communications assistance, simply call the Bismarck office of North Dakota United at 701-223-0450, or toll free at 1-800-369-6332. Or you can send us an e-mail: Kelly Hagen can be reached at kelly.hagen@ndunited.org, or Linda Harsche at linda. harsche@ndunited.org.

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The Public Record

Q & A WITH FAY KOPP,

Administrator of the Teachers’ Fund for Retirement By Linda Harsche, NDU Communications Fay Kopp

TFFR will continue to ask North Dakota United for their support, assistance and involvement.”

Q: What is the Teachers’ Fund for Retirement (TFFR)? A: TFFR is a defined benefit pension plan for North Dakota public school educators who are licensed and contracted to teach. TFFR provides lifetime financial security to nearly 7,500 currently retired educators, and 10,000 more future retirees. Q: How does TFFR work? A: Teachers and their employers pay a certain percentage of salary into TFFR. Those dollars are invested over the course of their career, and at retirement the teacher is eligible to receive a lifetime benefit based on their years of service credit, final average salary, and a benefit multiplier, which is currently two percent. Benefits are funded through member and employer contributions and investment earnings. Q: Will the merger to North Dakota United have any impact on the TFFR? A: The merger between NDEA and NDPEA should have no impact on TFFR. As mentioned earlier, TFFR is the pension plan for North Dakota public school teachers, and is a state entity. As we have done for 100 years, the TFFR

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benefits program will continue to be administered by the TFFR board and staff. TFFR will still provide retirement benefits administration, member and employer services, and educational outreach programs.

TFFR will continue to ask North Dakota United for their support and input where appropriate, however, it is important to note that TFFR and ND United are two distinctly separate entities with different purposes.

Q: What kind of tips do you have for retiring teachers? A: TFFR is committed to helping teachers prepare for their retirement. Throughout their careers, it is important for teachers to pay attention to their retirement plan. Take a look at the Member Handbook on the TFFR website at www.nd.gov/ rio/tffr. Read the retirement and investment newsletters that are sent out each quarter. Most importantly, closely review the annual statements mailed to you in August to ensure salary, service credit, and personal information (including beneficiary) is accurate and up to date. If teachers keep track of benefit estimates and retirement information throughout their career, they will have a ND United Voices


better understanding of when they can retire and what they can expect to receive.

During their last 5-10 years before retirement, teachers should take advantage of the TFFR individual benefits counseling program, where we go around the state visiting schools and talking with educators one-on-one about their retirement plan and personal retirement concerns. In addition, TFFR hosts full-day pre-retirement seminars where we bring in professionals to talk about the TFFR plan, and also Social Security benefits, health insurance options, financial and estate planning, and adjusting to retirement. Teachers considering retirement should sign up for a preretirement seminar to help them explore these important retirement issues before they make the decision to retire.

Q: What is the actual process when a teacher is ready to retire? A: The retirement process is simple and efficient. We have helpful and experienced TFFR benefits counselors who will assist teachers as they go through the process. At least 3 months prior to retirement, teachers should contact the TFFR office to calculate the benefit amount, review the retirement process, and request a notice of termination form. This form, along with copies of proof of age, proof of beneficiary’s age, teaching contract, salary verification form, and letter of resignation and acceptance should be submitted to the TFFR office. TFFR will then conduct a salary and service credit review before sending retirement forms to the teacher to sign and return to our office. Retirement benefits are paid retroactive to the date of the teacher’s initial retirement eligibility. Q: If teachers leave the state, can they take their retirement with them? A: A member who terminates employment, and does not plan to return to covered employment in North Dakota is eligible for a refund of the member contributions they have paid in to TFFR plus six percent interest. The refundable balance does not include the employer contributions. A refund closes a member’s account and all service credit earned to that point is forfeited. The refund will be paid after 120 days have passed. If the teacher wants to request a waiver of the 120-day requirement, they can provide TFFR with proof that they are not returning to covered employment in the state. Q: What is the difference between a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan? A: In a defined benefit plan, such as TFFR, recipients are paid a certain amount for their lifetime, based on a defined formula that includes salary, service credit, and benefit multiplier. Employee and employer contributions are pooled and invested by the plan. The focus in a defined benefit plan is on benefit security.

In a defined contribution plan, like a 401(k) plan, the contributions paid into the plan are defined. The employee and

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employer contributions go into a fund designated specifically for the employee and benefits are paid out based solely upon what recipients accumulate in their account. In a defined contribution plan, the focus is on wealth accumulation. Q: Do you want to explain the changes in the TFFR since the 2007 Session? A: Both benefit and contribution changes have been made in the past few legislative sessions to address TFFR’s funding shortfall brought on by the financial market downturn. Major plan changes include:

Employer contributions increased from 7.75% to 8.25% in 2008, 8.75% in 2010, 10.75% in 2012, and will increase to 12.75% on 7/1/14. Member contributions increased from 7.75% to 9.75% in 2012, and will increase to 11.75% on 7/1/14.

Retirement eligibility is the Rule of 85 for Tier 1 employees who are within 10 years of retirement eligibility as of 6/30/13 (grandfathered Tier 1 employees). Retirement eligibility is the Rule of 90 with minimum age 60 for all other employees (non grandfathered Tier 1 and all Tier 2 employees). Members can still retire at normal retirement age 65 or take a reduced early retirement benefit at age 55.

Tier 1 employees have 3 year vesting and 3 year final average salary calculation. Changes made to Tier 2 employees (hired after 6/30/08) include 5 year vesting and 5 year final average salary calculation.

The TFFR Member Handbook describes benefits for all classes of TFFR participants and is available on the TFFR website.

Q: Should teachers rely solely on TFFR, or should they have other investments? A: The TFFR pension plan is not designed to replace all of a teacher’s pre-retirement income. For the average teacher who retires with 30 years of service, TFFR will replace about 60 percent of pre-retirement income. So, a teacher is going to need additional personal savings plus Social Security in order to replace all of their pre-retirement earnings. We recommend that all employees invest in other retirement savings vehicles to offset the rising cost of health insurance and long term effects of inflation. Q: How is the TFFR money invested and by whom? A: The TFFR Board is responsible for developing the asset allocation and setting the investment policy for the Fund. However, the State Investment Board (SIB) implements TFFR’s investment program. The SIB pools TFFR assets with other pension trust assets (like PERS, for example), and selects and monitors investment managers, consultants, and other service providers to carry out the program. TFFR’s long term investment strategy is sound, our portfolio is professionally managed, and assets are well diversified. (Watch for Q&A on PERS next issue.) 27


ND SELECTS SMARTER BALANCED TO DEVELOP STATE ASSESSMENTS

ESP ANNUAL CONFERENCE SCHEDULED FOR OCT. 4-5

Multi-state consortium reflects regional ideals

The North Dakota United (NDU) Educational Support Professionals Conference is scheduled for the Chieftain Hotel in Carrington on Oct. 4-5, 2013.

North Dakota will join the Smarter Balanced consortium as a governing state, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler. “A great deal of time and research have gone into this decision,” said Baesler. “The process started in 2010 and has included educators and other stakeholders from throughout North Dakota.” The state-led consortium is charged with developing student learning assessments that will become effective for the 2014-15 school year. Assessments are given annually to gauge student progress as it relates to statewide learning standards established for each grade level. Standards provide clear expectations for student learning; assessments evaluate learning and help guide teachers in determining an appropriate course of instruction. Baesler said she believes Smarter Balanced is a good fit for North Dakota, as the consortium includes a number of neighboring states with similar educational ideals and also offers opportunities for future regional cooperation. Regional governing-member states include Montana, South Dakota, Iowa and Idaho; Wyoming is an advisory member state. Additional governing member states are Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, West Virginia, the Carolinas, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. “Our world is rapidly changing; career needs and educational practices are evolving to adapt to that changing world,” Baesler said. “We look forward to this next step in helping our educational systems meet these needs, to continue to prepare North Dakota students to succeed in their careers and in college.”

The conference will start with a social at the Chieftain Hotel at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4. Registration and breakfast begins at 8:00 a.m. on Oct. 5. NDU President Nick Archuleta will welcome participants at 9:00 a.m. Morning topics include Merger Information from NDU Executive Director Armand Tiberio; Membership – Organizing 101 with UniServ Director Jane Rupprecht; A Recipe for Respect with Tyann Schlenker and Connie Deutsch – ESPs, Fargo; and Table Talk plus Plan Writing. A luncheon will be held at noon with National ESP Conference reports by attendees: Tyann Schlenker; Connie Deutsch; Kathy Larson, Fargo; Terisa Ames-Ohnstad, West Fargo: Sandy Peisar, Minot; and Heidi Schostek, Dickinson. Afternoon sessions include Medical Procedures by Audrey Haskell, Grand Forks ESP and Legal Scenarios and Questions and Answers with Mike Geiermann. Participants will then share their plans, debrief and fill out evaluations. The conference should conclude by 3:30 p.m.

Mark Your Calendars for

October 17-18, 2013 North Dakota United is sponsoring a workshop on Common Core

At Century High School in Bismarck Smarter Balanced will present on the new assessments for North Dakota. The Smarter Balanced Consortium was selected by DPI to develop state assessments which will be implemented in the 2014-15 school year. To learn more about the Common Core workshop go to www.ndu.org.

For more information, contact: Annette Tait, ND DPI public information, at 701-328-2247 or via e-mail to aetait@nd.gov.

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ND United Voices


NEGOTIATIONS Across the State By Jane Rupprecht, NDU UniServ Director

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his bargaining season has been longer and more contentious than any in recent memory. The new formula has created some confusion and uncertainty as districts try to apply the new numbers to their specific needs. What is clear in many districts is that since the former 70 percent requirement did not extend to mill levy deduction grants and local property tax contributions, general fund ending balances have grown to historic levels. While some districts see this as a windfall that they can use for needed infrastructure, others realize that General Fund dollars should be assigned to teaching and learning. In those districts we see that boards are agreeing to compensate staff first. Many boards have made competitive salaries and benefits for staff a priority. In some districts we are seeing base increases in excess of 8 percent up to nearly 13 percent. The average as of the middle of July was about 5 percent. The preliminary average base salary for 2013-14 is nearly $34,000, an increase of nearly $2,000 from 2012-13. For those districts that have negotiated two-year contracts, the increases in the second year are somewhat lower, averaging around 3 percent. A more definitive report will be possible this fall when negotiated agreements are in. However, in those districts that made a commitment to continue to pay both sides of the TFFR contribution and continue full Model 2, none have changed — which could account for the lower base increases in 2014-15. In the second year of the biennium (2014-15) when TFFR contributions are raised another 4 percent, again, those districts who were Model 2 this year will continue Model 2. Prior to the first increase in 2012-13, of the 94 districts and special education units who were paying both sides of TFFR, ndunited.org

only 12 switched to Model 2 Partial. Those districts continued to pay the 7.75 percent, but staff picked up the 2 percent increase. Additionally, in those districts that have historically been Model 2 Partial, we have seen several increase their contribution for staff. This year has also seen a larger number of impasses than usual. So far, we have had impasses in Dickinson, Edgeley, Wishek, Turtle Lake-Mercer, White Shield, Bottineau and Jamestown. With a number of locals still at the table, there is the potential that there could be more. The response from the Education Fact-Finding Commission has been mixed with regard to salary. In Dickinson, the Board’s final offer was a base increase of $2,000 for 2013-14, and $1,500 for 2014-15 or 4 percent for each year. The Board also proposed adding two more professional development days for a total of six. The DEA’s final proposal was a base increase of $3,000 for 2013-14, and $2,000 for 2014-15 or 4.25 percent for both years. The Commission recommended the Board’s final salary offer of 4 percent. At the required meeting following the hearing, the Board unilaterally imposed a two-year contract based on their final offer. In Turtle Lake-Mercer, the Board proposed an increase of $1,000 to the base along with a $1,000 one-time bonus to all returning teachers for 2013-2014. For 2014-15, they proposed an increase of $1,250 to the base. The TL-MEA proposed a $2,000 base increase for 2013-2014 along with the $1,000 bonus, and they agreed to the $1,250 base increase for 2014-15. The Commission recommended the Board’s position with the addition of another $1,000 bonus for 2014-15. In addition, the Commission recommended that there be a one-time adjustment to all salaries so that returning teachers 29


would also have credit for 15 years of experience along with new hires.

RECRUITMENT INCENTIVE OFFERED

The Wishek Board’s final offer was an either/or proposal. They offered $1,600 for the base or $1,900 for the base, provided the education association agreed to delete payment for extra preps. They made no proposal for the second year of the contract. WEA proposed $2,500 on the base ($34,000). For 2014-15 WEA proposed a $1,500 increase to the base ($35,500). The Commission recommended $1,900 for the base in 2013-14 without the deletion, and $1,000 on the base for 2014-15. The Edgeley Education Association and the Edgeley Board were only $500 apart on their base proposals. The Board offered an increase of $1,000 for a base of $34,000, and EEA proposed an increase of $1,500 for a base of $34,500. The Commission recommended a one-year contract with a base increase of $1,200, citing the district’s financial uncertainty. In White Shield, the Board’s final offer was an across-theboard increase of $2,000 for 2013-14. The Association came in at a $3,600 across-the-board increase for one year. The White Shield Education Association also wanted the salary information and the anniversary date of the contract included in the agreement language. The Commission concurred with the White Shield Education Association with regard to the contract language and recommended an acrossthe-board increase of $2,400. The Bottineau hearing was held on August 5, 2013, with the Commission report due by August 12. The primary issue is in the second year of the contract. The Board and Bottineau Education Association (BEA) have agreed to a base of $33,500 for 2013-14. For the second year, BEA has proposed a base increase of $2,000 with the Board continuing to pay both sides of TFFR with the 2 percent increase. The Board has proposed a base increase of $2,450, but has refused to pay the 2 percent increase in TFFR. The Jamestown Board’s final offer remained at four percent for both years during the last three meetings. The salary schedule base would be $32,937 for 2013-14 and $33,925 for 2014-15. Jamestown Education Association’s final offer came down to 4.25 percent for 2013-2014 and 4.5 percent for 2014-15. That would result in a base of $33,016 for 2013-14 and $34,502 for 2014-2015. That hearing is scheduled for August 28. All of the ND Education Fact Finding Commission reports can be found at the NDU website, www.ndunited.org, as soon as they are available. 30

REMEMBER – MEMBERSHIP RECRUITMENT IS A YEAR-LONG PROCESS SO FORMS MAY BE SUBMITTED ANYTIME. As part of the effort to assist locals with the recruitment of Association members, North Dakota United is offering a $50 incentive payment for enrolling veteran staff as new NDU members. To be considered an eligible new member, the person must have been employed by an NDU entity in the 2012-2013 year. The $50 will be paid directly to the “recruiter” who signs the membership enrollment form. Here are FOUR EASY STEPS to claim the $50 incentive: 1. Verify that the new member was eligible for membership in the 2012-2013 year. 2. If you have a local association, be aware of the individual joining and that all necessary payroll deduction forms, local dues, etc. are processed through the local. 3. Complete the form available online www.ndunited.org 4. Send the completed form to:

North Dakota United ATTN Incentive Rebate 301 N 4th St Bismarck, ND 58501-4020

Payments will be mailed in December 2013 and March 2014. If you have any questions, please contact North Dakota United:

State Headquarters, Bismarck, 701-223-0450 or 800-369-6332

Eastern Office, Fargo, 701-281-7235 or 800-304-6332 ND United Voices


JOIN NDU-RETIRED TODAY Numerous benefits available for our retired members

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our retired members are an involved group, and we want you to know you are welcome to join us. North Dakota United Retired (NDU-R) wants you to know some of what we do to represent you and how NDU-R benefits you. The Retired Advisory Council consists of 12 elected members. They are elected by retired members and serve to bring concerns and opportunities from their regional members as well as statewide issues. This body plans the year’s offerings, is engaged in regional meetings, attends state meetings, and is active in political issues. The retired are represented with one seat on the North Dakota United (NDU) Board of Directors. The president and vice president of NDU-Retired are delegates to the NEA-Retired Mid-Winter Meeting. The president is a delegate to the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting and the NEA Representative Assembly. These meetings allow NDU-R members to have their voice and vote in the room as issues are discussed and action is planned. The president of NDU-R attends the Teachers’ Fund for Retirement (TFFR) meetings and is often called on for comment and/or opinion. This is a very important opportunity in today’s political climate where pensions are looked at by many with envy and lack of understanding. Our pension plans, TFFR and PERS, must be preserved

and enhanced. It will take all of us to serve as guardians. Members of NDU-R are welcome to serve and vote as delegates to the NDU Delegate Assembly. All members are encouraged to be involved in spreading the message in political issues and lobby efforts. We can and do make a difference in the quality-of-life issues. Every qualified retired member receives coverage for day-today substitute teaching. Every retired member is eligible for excellent member-benefit offers – you really can save lots of money. And all receive the communications of our organization to keep us informed and involved.

By Gloria Lokken NDU-Retired President

To further enhance our program, this year NDU-R is helping sponsor the NDU Students Outreachto-Teach program. Read the article in this publication that highlights Outreach-to-Teach; it is an exciting event. We are also offering assistance to teachers during test weeks. We are engaged in informing student members on the opportunities of membership. Of course, we are working on membership for all categories and especially informing and welcoming the former public employee members to join us – we are one!

NDU-R member Sonja Mahlum of Bismarck

Membership gives you the tools to stay involved in your profession, to make a difference in quality of life issues and to lend your vast experience. Sign up. NDU-R Vice President Nancy Peterson of West Fargo

YES, SIGN ME UP NOW IN NDU/NEA/AFT-RETIRED Complete and mail with your check today, to NDU-Retired, 301 N 4th St, Bismarck, ND 58501-4020 Name: _______________________________________Social Security Number: __________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________________________ City: _________________________________________ State: ______________ Zip: ______________ Phone: ______________________________E-mail:_________________________________________ LocalAssociation:_____________________________Signature_______________________Date______ _______ I wish to join as Annual Retired and pay $52 per year. Mail this blank and your check to NDU, 301 N 4th Street, Bismarck, ND 58501-4020. (NDU membership year is from Sept. 1 to August 31.) _______ I wish to pay a one-time payment of $412 for Lifetime Retired. Expected Date of Retirement ___________ (month/year) _______ I wish to pay one payment of $62 and have 9 (nine) electronic transfers of $40 from my bank account for lifetime retired. ndunited.org

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ND United Voices

United Voices, Vol. 1 No. 1  

The inaugural edition of United Voices, the official magazine of North Dakota United. Lots of great information about the merger, member ben...