Sacramento Teachers Continue to Strike; Still No Deal
Sacramento City Unified School District teachers and faculty continued to picket Friday at City Hall in an effort to negotiate a deal that would increase wages, provide better health benefits, and improve staff shortages.
Sacramento City Teachers Association and the local Service Employees International Union 1021 chapter, the unions that represent most of SCUSD’s employees, failed to come to an agreement with the district last week. After a recent round of COVID related funding, both teacher unions and SCUSD employees say that the district has more than enough resources to accommodate a wage increase. However, according to district officials the extra funding received will not necessarily sustain a wage increase over time.
Superintendent Jorge Aguilar Gives Strike Update
In a prerecorded message posted on Friday on the district’s YouTube channel, Superintendent Jorge Aguilar gave an update on the district’s proposal to SCTA.
“Despite our numerous offers to continue negotiations, SCTA has not yet responded to us with a counter proposal to resume negotiations. Our negotiations team is ready; they’re willing; they’re able to bargain throughout the entire weekend in order to get our 40,000 students back to school on Monday. But we need a counter proposal to keep making progress. The proposals that the district has shared with SCTA are fair. The district’s proposal includes 100 health coverage for our employees and their families. They include one time bonuses, additional professional development, signing bonuses, and an ongoing salary increase combined the one time bonuses and the ongoing pay increase will equate to nearly 6% of employees salaries for this year. Together with a salary increase, and one-time bonuses the district’s proposal would mean an increase in the take-home pay:-Jorge Aguilar, Superintendent of SCUSD
Throughout the weekend, the district met with both SCTA and local SEIU 1021 to negotiate on the demands set forth. But despite their efforts, a consensus is still out of reach even though the district acknowledges that teachers are underpaid well below market value.
Meanwhile, school personnel continue to be at odds over increased demands, despite a shortage of staff, lower wages, and subpar health benefits. Thus, the strike will continue until a resolution is met.
As of today, the negotiations between labor unions and the District continue and it is still unknown when students will be returning to the classroom.
All SCUSD Schools Closed
Approximately, 4,600 teachers and school staff took to the picket lines at campuses across the District. According to the District, all SCUSD schools, athletic practices, and extracurricular activities are canceled due to the strike.
In the Districts email sent to parents Wednesday it said:
“We know that today has been an extremely difficult day for our community, particularly for our students who lost a day of learning and for our families who had to find alternatives to care for and supervise their children while also managing schedules and other obligations.”-Sacramento City Unified School Distrcit
Kids Should Be at the Forefront
Written words may not be enough for many families affected by the strike. Mother, Shavaun Diallo stressed how difficult it already was navigating through school closures during the pandemic.
“If this strike was really about the betterment of the children, I would have loved to see better preparations made for those who needed childcare, work assigned for the time the kids are out, consideration for their innocence and overall concern for them. Our kids have been through so much regarding school closures with the pandemic and adapting to change. As a parent, it’s very hard to keep morale up and encourage them that school is a safe place and should be fun while getting an education. Instead, its being made into a political playground for them. I just wish the kids were more at the forefront of all this.”–
Grab and Go Meals
Limited lunches are available at all school sites as well as Grab-and-Go Meals are provided at nine locations. Furthermore, 4th “R” childcare programs will still operate during “normal hours,” before and after school. The strike comes at an especially hard time for families due to high childcare costs and gas prices.
The Sacramento City Teachers Association
On the local SEIU 1021 website, a Media Advisory was posted on Thursday Mar 24:
The Sacramento City Teachers Association has been very clear about the steps necessary to move forward:
- SCUSD should accept the neutral fact-finder’s compromise recommendations. Last week a fact-finder chosen by both parties under the auspices of the California Public Employment Relations Board released his compromise recommendations that largely accepted SCTA solutions to address the staffing crisis: “It is counter-intuitive to expect that proposals to shift health costs to employees, or to freeze wages for several years, would help any employer recruit and retain staff.” SCUSD’s negotiators had made a written commitment to “follow the Fact-Finding Panel Chair’s recommendation to the maximum extent possible,” while simultaneously dissenting with the compromise report and continue to demand concessions inconsistent with the report.
- The district should accept the mediator’s recommendation to extend the contract through at least June 30, 2023.
- SCUSD must eliminate the outrageous demand that teachers pay as much as $12,000 per year out-of-pocket to keep their current health insurance.
- The district should agree to a fair salary adjustment that addresses inflation. Maintaining wages that are competitive and keep up with the current rate of inflation, the highest in four decades, directly affects the district’s ability to recruit and retain teachers and staff.
This is a developing story.
For the most recent updates on negotiations CLICK HERE.