California Educator

August 2014

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Page 31 of 73

Advocacy Bargaining Fresno establishes ongoing instant email, garners a 6.2 percent raise On the brink of strike, the Fresno Teachers Association reached a final settlement with the district that provides a 6.2 percent raise with a salary reopener to come for the following year. The contract ratification came after 364 days of negotiations in which teachers packed trustee meetings, banged on drums, and in some instances turned out up to 1,000 members for rallies. In addition, the union established an ongoing instant email service that provided negotiations updates to over 2,400 members who had provided their personal emails. Contract talks went into fact-finding before a settlement was reached. "I think our members are happy it's over," says Tish Rice, newly elected president of the Fresno Teachers Association, prais- ing the previous union leadership's actions. "Our new leadership will build on that by continuing to organize and engage our mem- bership in order to be prepared the next time we bargain." The new contract includes a 2.7 percent retroactive raise for the 2013-14 school year plus a 3.5 percent increase for the 2014-15 school year. In addition, teachers will receive about $1,000 more each year toward health benefits. Extra pay for athletic and aca- demic coaches in middle and high schools will also be doubled, while extra pay for elementary coaches will triple. FTA agreed to extending the class day by 30 minutes and up to 10 more professional development days in 10 elementary "Schools Designated for Innovation" with 20 more schools to be added in the next year. Before the settlement, Fresno teachers take to the streets to tell their story. Photo by Gary Alford. Bargaining updates See details of these stories at bargainingupdates. Compiled by Mike Myslinski 30

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