Our union recently ratified a really awful contract. Basically the district gave us a raise, but also raised out health insurance contribution, so really the contract was a wash. The one bright spot in all of this is the retro check. We worked almost two years without a contract, so the retro check might be okay, I won't be going on any vacations with the "found" money but it might be good for a dishwasher for my new kitchen.
It really came down the wire with this contract. Negotiations with city were not going well, and we had started some quiet protests at school committee meetings, in front of city hall, before and after school, that kind of thing. It was scary but exciting at the same time. It made me feel like I was part of a process...something bigger than myself, part of a united team...I was Norma Rae! 2...4...6...8 now's the time NEGOTIATE! Good times!