California Educator

August/September 2019

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Ba rga i n i n g Ro u n d u p By Cynthia Menzel, Julian Peeples and Ed Sibby #OurVoiceAtTheTable Fresno: Teachers win agreement A year after nearly going on strike, Fresno Teachers Association (FTA) agreed to a three-year contract that makes advances in all its priority areas: class size, special education, evaluations, meeting time, pro- fessionalism and discipline. FTA also secured a 3 percent on-schedule salary increase, a 1.5 percent off-schedule bonus, and no con- cessions on their health care coverage. "In under five months, we were able to tackle some big issues and do so in a way that was professional, even though very dif- ficult, and really move forward," says FTA President Manuel Bonilla. "This gives us … a good foundation to build on over the next three years." FTA's victories included more money for special education and the hiring of more nurses. Core classes in middle school will be capped at 28. For the 2019-20 school year, elementary educators with more than 33 students can choose a $2,000 annual stipend or a teacher's aide. Secondary-level teachers in core classes with more than 36 stu- dents can choose $500 or a teacher's aide. Forestville: Teachers go on strike Fruitless negotiations in the small Forestville Union School District in Sonoma County led to Forestville Teachers Association (FTA) going on strike on the first day of school, Aug. 12. As of press time, the strike continues. For two years, the district has delayed and dragged its feet to nego- tiate a fair contract and provide a living wage to its dedicated educators. FTA put the district on notice this summer that if an agreement couldn't be reached at a meeting in July, educators would go on strike. District managers at that meeting were not only completely unprepared to present a proposal, they also admit- ted they had no authority to make a deal — a com- plete lack of respect for FTA educators. "Enough is enough," says FTA President Gina Graziano. "Teachers are our students' most import- ant resource. Our students are losing great teachers because FUSD managers won't provide a living wage to teachers. Our students deserve better." 50 Advocacy

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