California Educator

October/November 2019

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Ba rga i n i n g Ro u n d u p By Gabriella Landeros, Cynthia Menzel, Julian Peeples, Ed Sibby and Frank Wells #OurVoiceAtTheTable Placer Hills: New contract The small but mighty American Bear Education Association, with about 40 members, organized and built major support in the Placer Hills Union School District community, winning a new contract that sets maximum class sizes, supports professional growth for teachers, provides an average 5.32 percent pay increase to ABEA members, and increases district health benefit contributions by $500 a year. Per the agreement, the starting credentialed teacher salary will be increased by $3,500 to $46,000 annually. Fillmore: Settlement rejected Unconvinced that the school district was showing its educators the respect they deserve, Fillmore Unified Teachers Association (FUTA) members voted down a mediated contract settlement in mid-September. The rejected settlement offer included a 2.5 per- cent pay increase — considered insulting after the school board awarded the district's superintendent a 6 percent raise this year and 7 percent next year. Fillmore teachers are the lowest-paid in all of Ven- tura County, while district administrators are the highest- paid countywide. "Fillmore Unified teachers have spoken loudly and clearly," says FUTA President Tammy Ferguson. "FUSD's salary proposal is simply not enough, given our members' previous sacrifices. FUSD will be unable to attract and retain high-quality educators if they continue to devalue the contributions of pro- fessionals who work directly with students." Negotiations began last January and ended in impasse in late May. FUTA is hopeful that a return to mediation will help the two sides reach a fair settlement. Desert Sands: Focus on member equity Desert Sands Teachers Association's focus on member equity helped bring a settlement that strengthens early childhood education (ECE) for every student in the community. DSTA's efforts were transformational in the lives of 18 ECE members, who participated fully in the orga- nizing effort. Desert Sands' highest-paid ECE teacher was previously making less than the lowest-paid certificated teacher for similar work, and was paid significantly less than in surrounding districts. DSTA's success in bringing fair compensation (as much as 20 percent increases) provides an important lesson in equity within bargaining groups. Chapter leaders say their resolve in addressing it has made DSTA stronger and reinvigorated its members. 37 O C T O B E R / N O V E M B E R 2 019 A

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