California Educator

December 2018 / January 2019

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Page 46 of 75

Arvin: The Power of the People Arvin Elementary Teacher Association (AETA) members showed up at the Oct. 23 school board meeting with a positive message of unity and support for their bargaining team. "School board members saw that we were united and serious about wanting our collective bargaining agreement settled so we could focus on teaching and learning," said AETA President Michael Flores-Castaneda. The result of this show of unity was a two-year settlement that includes a 4 percent salary increase this year and 2 percent next year, fully covered benefits for both years and increases to Dual Immersion stipends. The full contract was not open, so there were no other substantive language issues. Flores-Castaneda acknowledged Diana Anthony, AETA bargaining team chair, for her leadership. Oakland Educators Prepare for Fact-Finding A F T E R W O R K I N G without a contract for more than a year and a half, and after six failed mediation sessions, frustrated Oakland Education Associ- ation (OEA) members are preparing for the last step in negotiations before they will be able to legally strike, if necessary. That last step is a hearing with a state-appointed fact-finder that's expected in mid-January. The main issues in this contract showdown are teacher turnover due to low pay, class sizes and lack of resources for students. Oakland educators continue to advocate for their cause, including a districtwide protest on Nov. 15. "We unite to make our students the priority, not administrators and consultants," said Keith Brown, presi- dent of OEA, which represents nearly 3,000 educators in the Oakland Uni- fied School District. "We are fighting to end Oakland's teacher crisis and to bring stability for our students through district investments in a living wage, lower class size and increased student support." Educators are demanding the 37,000-student district invest more in jobs that support students — nurses, psychologists and speech pathologists, for example. They also want the district to prioritize resources for school sites with more students who are low income and English language learners. While the district continues to claim it can't afford the OEA pro- posals, it spends $22 million more than the Alameda County average on administrators and $67 million less than the county average for teacher and support service salaries, accord- ing to OEA research. #Unite4OaklandKids Oakland Education Association members show their strength. AETA members show solidarity as they listen to chapter leadership and others speak to the school board in October. 45 D E C E M B E R 2 018 / J A N U A R Y 2 019

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