California Educator

October/November 2019

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Page 39 of 67

Del Norte County: At impasse Del Norte Teachers Association is at impasse with Del Norte Unified School District after six months of negotiations made fruitless by the district's refusal to budge from its initial proposal of a 1 percent raise. Despite every attempt by DNTA's bargaining team, including four rebuffed compromise offers, the school district doesn't seem interested in reach- ing a fair agreement. "Work with us, that's all we ask," says DNTA President Marshall Jones. "The school board can direct district managers to come back to the table and work with educators. The board is able but unwilling." About 200 DNTA members and supporters, including educators from surrounding CTA locals and Oregon, attended a school board meeting at the district office in Crescent City in August to demand that DNUSD return to the bar- gaining table and negotiate a fair contract with teachers. At press time, a fact-finding hearing was scheduled for September. DNTA's 213 members are escalating their organizing campaign, taking to the com- munity their message that Del Norte students deserve better. "We work hard for our students," Jones said. "We hope this school board will step up and work with us to achieve the resources and opportunities our students need to succeed." Forestville: Teachers strike — and win After four sweltering days standing together on the picket line, the 16 members of Forestville Teachers Association won the contract they demanded — one that will help attract and retain the qualified teachers Forestville students deserve. The school district passed up every opportunity to avert a strike and avoid impacting students. District managers walked out of negotiations the first day of the strike and refused to resume bargaining for three days. On the fourth day of the strike, which was also the first day of instruction, Forestville parents and students stood with FTA teachers. That evening, the FTA bargaining team emerged from negotiations after less than 30 minutes, signed agreement in hand. "I think they severely underestimated our connection with the com- munity," says FTA lead negotiator Ryan Strauss. FTA won the 13 percent wage increase over three years they wanted. Redlands: Moving to mediation Redlands Teachers Association (RTA) and Redlands Education Support Professionals Association (RESPA) are moving to mediation after 14 months without a contract. Lack of progress in negotiations has impacted the more than 2,000 members of both unions. RESPA President Gladys Kershall says the protracted bargaining is affecting staff morale and "negatively impacts the classified employees who daily support Redlands students and who maintain a professional yet compassionate relationship with students and parents." Teacher and support staff salaries are far below comparable districts. "Redlands is a costly city to live in, and our teachers are paid the lowest in the region," says RTA President Teresa Steinbroner. State mediation began in early October. 38 Advocacy

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