California Educator

April/May 2023

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that excluded the rest of the bargaining unit. Instead, TRUE used extensive, inclusive site-based organizing, community outreach, and employed data, earned media, technology and social media to update the entire bargain- ing unit and community. This included: • An expanded bargaining team from 5 to 27 members and counting (TRUE is aiming for 1 rep from all 55 sites). • Bargaining sessions that met on Zoom and after school so more members could participate at the table. • Continuously informing members/parents/community of what was going on through • Immediate bargaining session recaps (Zoom and Facebook Live videos livestreamed into a members- only Facebook group); • Emails that reinforced the livestreamed videos and shared all proposals from both the district and the chapter, including financial analysis (data from EdData and MIT living wage statistics combined with real- world examples of members not being able to make ends meet [from a member bargaining survey]); • All-member text message blasts ahead of all bargaining updates; • Site-based bargaining discussions led by site reps and TRUE leaders who visited half of all school sites in the first two months of the school year; • Clear, concise data and visuals showing district disinvestment in students/educators over time, wage/ income gaps, locals and management demands/ responses, etc.; • Virtual parent forums, school board meetings, and earned media during a historic school board action. TRUE's transparent approach and focus on organizing won hearts and minds and built a formidable team that showed up and spoke out in huge numbers time and again at rallies, picket lines, school board meetings and more. One rally in October 2022 at a school board meeting drew 800 members as well as community allies, who demanded that the district invest in educator recruitment and retention and support for students. Members were organized and commit- ted to striking; this strong structure ensured a victory with an unprecedented settlement in January. Jackie Howard, TRUE vice president and lead negotiator, said, "At every stage of our bargain, TRUE members turned out to show our power and raise our voices together. We opened up our bargain and brought all members along from day one. This created a solidarity we have never experienced before in our union. That's how you win for students, educa- tors, and public education." Highlights of TRUE's Victory • 18 percent salary increase over three years • Additional 10 percent increase to early childhood educators, in effect a 28 percent raise. • Salary schedule parity for adult education • Increases to district contributions for all health care plans. • Removal of 10-year cap on experience credit • Miscarriage and stillbirth codified as part of bereavement leave • Increase in overages payment to incentivize smaller class size Ending balances at the end of each fiscal year are on the rise. This trend can also be seen as a percentage of total outgo (ie in 2017-18 fiscal year, the percentage was 11.8%. In the 2020-21 fiscal year, the percentage was 15.21%). TRUE leadership used data and numbers to tell clear and compelling truths about district budgeting. At left, declining educator wages over the years; at right, rising district funding over the years. 39 A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 3

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