Association Facts and a Bit of History

ACCESS represents 120 employees at CCBDD.

We represent 19 different Position Titles.

We have had 16 Association Presidents.

ACCESS (Association of Cuyahoga County Employees for Special Students) was formed in 1968 as the Association of Cuyahoga County Teachers of the Trainable Retarded (ACCTTR) as the employee organization representing teachers, assistants, specialists, and principals working in the school age program at the Cuyahoga Co. Board of MRDD.  Principals were removed after a strike in 1974. 

It was affiliated with NEOTA (North Eastern Ohio Teachers Association).  Early OEA Consultants were: Bill Oliver, Ed Spezio, Don Banas, Larry McDougle, Harry Kloos, and Tom Scarpelli.

By 1985, the name had shortened to the Association of Cuyahoga County Teachers of the Retarded (ACCTTR.)  The name was changed to ACCESS in 1994.

ACCESS has bargained 15 contracts or “Master Agreements” with the CCBDD since 1974.

Prior to 1974, salaries, terms and conditions of employment were established through a process called “Meet and Confer.”  This was a meeting between ACCTTR representatives and the Superintendent and the Director of Personnel.  ACCTTR representatives presented their views and the Superintendent told them what the salary, terms and conditions would be.

Prior to the 1983 Ohio Collective Bargaining Law school districts were free to recognize a local collective bargaining unit and bargain virtually any item they agreed to discuss.  Settled contracts were proved enforceable through the courts.  A strong and well organized local membership along with strong community outreach and support was needed to convince a board to enter talks. 

After the 1983 Collective Bargaining Law procedures were in place to determine recognition, subjects of bargaining, settlement, and dispute resolution. 

The terms and conditions of employment contained in the current contract are the result of many years of hard work by association bargaining teams and the strong support of the members and the community.

The Strikes:

Many years of respectful and cooperative relations between ACCESS and the CCBDD have been interrupted by strikes only three times.  In the seventies, there was much tension surrounding the early years of teacher and public employee bargaining across the country.  This held true for our association.

The first ACCTTR contract in 1974 was the result of a bitter strike for the right to bargain as an association.  The association faced a longer and bitterer strike two years latter in 1976.  At that time it was the longest teacher strike in Ohio.  The strong determination of the association’s leadership and its members won respect and support from the parents and the community, and labor peace lasted until 1988.

As new leadership came to the CCBDD Board, a tough approach toward the association began to evolve and our third strike occurred in 1988.  Again members and the leadership came together with concerned parents, this time to protect fair evaluation procedures.

Prior to bargaining the 1991 contract, ACCTTR and the CCBDD sought the help of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to begin training in “Interest-Based Bargaining” and help in forming a “Labor-Management Committee.”  At that time, a commitment from both ACCTTR and CCBDD to improve communications and develop a durable working relationship was made.  Lessons learned and commitments made then have resulted in twenty years of relative labor peace.

Early ACCESS Bargaining History:

  • 1968 – Recognition as employee organization.  Meet and confer on salary & working conditions.
  • 1972 – Established Salary Schedule base w/ fourteen steps to top and colums for qualifications.
  • 1973 – BA Base – $7500, MA Max $13812.
  • 1974 – Strike – 9 work days.  First Signed & Bargained Contract.  Recognition & Representative Election.  Grievance Procedure.  Working Conditions – Student Emergency Contact Information, Release/Planning Time, Posting of Salary Schedules and Job Descriptions, Two Days Professional Leave, After-Hours Supervision of Students, Job Postings, Contract/Assignment/School Calendar Notification.  Benefits – Bulletin Board, Supplemental Salaries, Placement on the Salary Schedule, Coursework Reimbursement, Maternity Leave.  Association and Teacher Rights – Use of Buildings, Mailboxes, View Personnel File, Notice and Copy of Board Minutes.  Just Cause Discipline/Termination Subject to Grievance Procedure.  Negotiations Procedure.  1st year Base BA Certified Salary – $8025, Max MA+ Salary – $14920, 2nd  year Salary Re-opener.  Four Longevity Increments. Insurance – 100% employee, 50% Family 1st year, 100% Family 2nd year.
  • 1975 – Salary Reopener – 4%; $8346-$15517.
  • 1976 – Strike: 27 work days (Sept 16 – Oct 25); New superintendent wanted to severely limit the contract and kill the union.  Salary was 31st of 32 school districts in county.  Settled with Binding Arbitration on Salary for 1st & 2nd Year ($9000-$16732 and $9540-$17736).  Reopener for 3rd year ($10112-$18163).  Retained Salary Schedule and Steps.  Retained and Refined other Contract Items.  Added: Personal Leave – 1st year, one day; 2nd year, two days.  No agreement on Insurance but it was continued at 100%.
  • 1979 – Added: Joint Development of Evaluation Procedure.  Payroll Deduction.  Days & Hours. NEOTA Day.  Probationary Period. Salary – $10836-$21110, $11600-$22598, $12400-$24154.
  • 1982 – Added: Assignment and Transfer.  Layoff Procedure.  Posting of Personnel Manual.  Dental and Life Insurance.  Salary – $13802-$25608, $14629-$27141, $15509-$28773.
  • 1985 – Added: Fair Share Fee.  Board Pick-Up of PERS/STRS.  Evaluation Forms and Procedure w/ Reevaluation after correction of deficiencies.  Bargaining Unit Vacancies.  Improved: Days and Hours.  Assignment and Transfer.  Discipline and Due Process.  Salary – $16451-$31133, $17219-$32587, $17849-$34117.
  • 1986 – Added: SSP Salary, Hours.  Working Conditions.
  • 1988 – Strike – 10 work days. $800 Signing Bonus.  Statutory max ERIP.  Labor-Management Committee.  Final Best Offer Arbitration on changes to Personnel Manual.  No Subcontracting.  Mentor Program.  Safety Training.  Retained Evaluation Procedure.  Salary – $11920-$38920, $20400-$41353, $21200-$42974.
  • 1991 – Added: Joint Development of Position Descriptions.  Placed four Longevity Increments into 18 step Salary Schedule – $23262-$47154, $24308-$49274, $25402-$51492.

by Hank Haynes