California Educator

April / May 2018

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Page 49 of 75

Bargaining Roundup Details of these stories at By Cynthia Menzel, Mike Myslinski, Ed Sibby and Frank Wells. #OurVoiceAtTheTable Pittsburg: Educators on the March On March 7, hundreds of Pittsburg Education Association (PEA) members rallied in front of Pittsburg Unified School District offices, frustrated by a bargaining impasse on crucial issues such as school safety improvements, large class sizes and salary. Joining them was CTA President Eric Heins, whose home district is Pittsburg. Overcrowding is a problem. "Pittsburg High School is crammed with more than 3,500 students, class sizes are too high, and class sizes also need to be lowered and capped for special education," says Tammy Carr, PEA president. And a recent power outage in the district exposed communication problems that raise safety issues, she adds. "We are trying to bargain language that will provide the most safety for our students in emergency situations." After months of negotiations, the district is offering teachers zero raises, despite having a fiscal year ending balance last summer of more than $23 million, and receiving more funding this fiscal year. "In this time of a severe teacher shortage in California, we are desperate for highly qualified teachers that will give our students the quality education they all deserve," Carr says. "But we can't attract and retain teachers if our salaries are not competitive with neighboring school districts." Both sides met with a state mediator March 26 and 28, but with no resolution of the bargaining impasse. CTA President Eric Heins (back row) joins his fellow Pittsburg educators in marching and rallying for better working conditions. Los Alamitos: Agreement Reached The Los Alamitos Education Asso- ciation and Los Alamitos Unified School District reached a two-year tentative agreement in early March. It includes adding part-time teachers at elementary sites to provide small-group instruction, intervention and assess- ment support, and increasing the number of speech-language therapists for 2018-19. Educators will receive a 1.5 percent salary increase this year and another 1.5 percent for 2018-19. Fremont: Still at Impasse Hundreds of Fremont Unified School District educators packed the school board meeting on March 28, escalating their contract fight for fair salaries as concern grows over teacher turnover driven by low pay in the high-cost city. Meanwhile, the Fremont Unified Dis- trict Teachers Association launched an online petition to pressure the board. "An essential factor in maintain- ing quality schools is attracting and retaining quality educators," the petition states. " This does not seem to be a priority for Fremont Unified." The two sides are at a bargaining impasse in talks that began a year ago. The district is offering only a one- time bonus of 1.33 percent. To afford to live in the area, many teachers are leaving for nearby New Haven Unified School District in Union City, where a first-year, fully credentialed educator can make nearly 10 percent more than in Fremont. 48 Advocacy

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