(Update) Teacher’s Union at Odds with School District

 

Update:

The Alameda Unified School District and the Alameda Education Association -- the teacher's union -- reached a tentative agreement to end the impasse process. The agreement was reached on Wednesday, June 8 after press time. The agreement is for two years. The Tentative Agreement they developed provides a 3.7% increase in salary to AEA members. For more information about the agreement, visit www.alameda.k12.ca.us. 

Original story:

The Alameda Education Association (AEA) and Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) jointly announced they ended negotiation talks Wednesday, June 1, according to press releases from both sides.

The two sides agreed to ask the state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to declare an impasse in negotiations. If the state board declares an impasse, a state-appointed mediator will join talks to get an agreement completed. If the two sides can’t reach an agreement with the mediator, negotiations will reach a fact-finding phase where a panel would review the arguments and proposals from both sides and make the appropriate next measures. If PERB believes both sides did not negotiate in good faith, they can disallow the impasse and demand both sides go back to the negotiation table.

Audrey Hyman, AEA president, said teachers are asking for a 5 percent salary increase over the next two-years and for the district to cover the mandatory 2.1 percent increase to retirement contributions to bring AUSD salaries in line with surrounding districts, according to an AEA press release. Sean McPhetridge, AUSD superintendent, said the district is offering a 4.6 percent increase over the next two years. The difference in salary increases have been the major factor to both sides walking away.

“Our perspectives on salaries are so far apart that we all agreed we need outside help to come to a mutually beneficial resolution,” said McPhetridge.

“For many years Alameda teachers have been at the bottom of the pay scale in Alameda County,” said Hyman, president of the 560-member AEA. “We cannot attract and retain high-quality educators with below-market compensation levels.”

AUSD also offered to expand the ways teachers can use sick leave. 
The district is being strict with its increase because, as McPhetridge said, “The district’s current budget forecast shows a deficit of $17.5 million by the end of 2018-2019.” This is because Alameda’s Measure A parcel tax, which brings $12 million per year to the district, expires in June 2018 and state funding to AUSD is less than many surrounding districts.

The two sides began negotiating in January. PERB last declared an impasse in AUSD and AEA negotiations in 2011, however, the main factor concerned class sizes.