California Educator

May 2015

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Bargaining Updates Time for collaboration and raises in Palm Springs By adopting a straightforward approach in requesting Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) dollars be spent in the classroom and on students, Palm Springs Teachers Association (PSTA) settled its 11-month contract dispute and met bargaining goals including instructional planning time for teachers and improved compensation. Because Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) has significant numbers of English learners and students on free and reduced-price meals, it received one of the largest boosts in LCFF funding in Riverside County. This year alone, PSUSD received an additional $23 million in LCFF funding. On May 8, PSTA members ratified the settlement with 96 percent support. Work schedules will be altered to create weekly collaboration and instructional planning time for educators and paraeducators. Provisions include a retroactive 5 percent raise for this school year, an additional 5 percent in the 2015-16 school year, and a final half-percent increase to be added in 2016. Lucia Mar teachers reach agreement On April 16, members of the Lucia Mar Unified Teachers Association ratified a tentative agreement, narrowly averting a strike. The agreement came after months of internal and external organizing and a strong show of community support. The three-year deal calls for midyear 3 percent salary schedule increases this year and next, and reopeners on salary and benefits for 2016-17. Shortly after ratification, the LMUSD superintendent, who was widely viewed as the major obstacle to settlement, took a position with another district. LMUTA plans to build on their organizational capacity and community support to impact the next round of school board elections. UTLA settlement helps create 'schools LA students deserve' On April 17, United Teachers Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District reached a tentative contract agreement that was the culmination of months of effective union organizing. The three-year deal includes a 10 percent salary increase over two years (UTLA members have gone without a raise for the past seven years), unprecedented class size caps, targeted class size reduction in grades 8-9, new secondary counselor ratios, new language regarding the reassignment of employees under investigation, and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on teacher evaluation. Salary and class size will be among reopened articles for 2016-17. The settlement addresses many of the issues spotlighted by UTLA's "Schools LA Students Deserve" campaign, a grassroots effort petitioned by UTLA members and approved by vote of the general membership. The campaign involved partnering with parents and community groups and making issues benefiting students key components of the union's bargaining proposals. Throughout negotiations, UTLA leaders engaged members through organizing actions that included districtwide school site visits, site picketing, parent leafleting, faculty meeting boycotts, strike buildup preparation, and a massive "Stand at Grand" rally in downtown Los Angeles. With the agreement in place, UTLA shifted focus to school board election runoffs held on May 19. Stockton district makes teachers and students a priority With a 97 percent vote, members of the Stockton Teachers Association (STA) capped off 32 months of organizing and hard bargaining by approving a new contract. The contract provides a multiyear 12.5 percent compensation increase, more time for collaboration with one another and with parents, and individualized student instruction. "Our bargaining team, backed by the actions and unity of our members, won a fair contract that moves the classroom, our students and teachers much closer to the top of the district's priority list," says John Steiner, a high school teacher and STA president. "Ratification of this agreement by our members and the school board will be a first major step in the right direction for Stockton schools." Stockton TA bargaining team member Ellen Old (right) discusses provisions of the agreement before the ratification vote. Photo by Len Feldman. Pittsburg educators secure lower class sizes and competitive pay It was a long and demanding bargaining cycle, but Pittsburg Education Association (PEA) members finally reached a fair agreement. Negotiations began in April 2014 and finally ended with a mediated settlement one year later — on April Fools' Day! The major issues were the term of contract, K-3 class sizes, effective date of benefit increases, work year, and hours. PEA was able to secure a competitive successor agreement while maintaining the ability to negotiate salary and benefits in each of the next two years after the facts of the budget are known. Benefit increases will be retroactive as well. Regarding K-3 class sizes, PEA agreed on a school average of 24 with a maximum of 26. If the funding is eliminated or decreased, the district may return to current class sizes (30), but PEA would be able to negotiate an alternative at that time. The highlight of the successor agreement is the 9 percent salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2014. Pittsburg teachers were among the lowest-paid in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and this increase was needed to make salaries more competitive with surrounding districts. Advocacy Bargaining 40

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