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No deal struck in Monday negotiation as Sacramento teachers strike looms

The strike would shut down Sacramento City Unified Schools on Wednesday if no deal can be made.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A looming teachers strike that would impact 43,000 Sacramento students and their families is another day closer. After returning to the bargaining table on Monday for hours of discussion, a deal has not been reached between the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) and Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) and SEIU Local 1021.  

Teachers, staffers, and supporters drove up to SCTA headquarters on Monday as bargaining resumed days after the groups announced their intent to strike on Wednesday if no deal was reached by then. 

“Enough is enough. It’s time to make sure every student has a teacher in the classroom," said SCTA President, David Fisher.

He says that can’t happen unless the teachers and staff have fair pay and adequate staffing. 

“We have a potential solution. It’s been recommended by a neutral third party. All the district has to do is concur with that like we did, and we can not have any sort of work stop," Fisher said.

Late Monday night, SCUSD district leaders sent a statement to ABC10 with details of a new proposal.

The new proposal includes 100% health coverage for employees and their families and a 2% salary increase starting this school year, among other bonuses and compensation increases.

"This ongoing salary increase builds on a total compensation package that is the highest in Sacramento County," the district wrote in the statement.

Another portion of the proposal includes professional development where the district will offer three additional paid days for professional learning beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.

“We are working to find common ground with our labor partners,” said Jorge A. Aguilar, Superintendent, Sacramento City Unified School District in a statement. “The district’s proposals are squarely aimed at addressing our district’s staffing challenges and would help our district recruit and retain staff. Equally important, the proposals also appropriately and responsibly balance use of one-time funds and ongoing budget commitments.”

Another meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning between the district's negotiating team, SCTA's negotiations team, and two state-appointed mediators.

The full proposal can be viewed HERE.

Last week, the teachers union voted to accept recommendations from a fact-finding report released by a panel for the California Public Employee Relations Board, which served as a mediator between the district and the teachers union at the district’s urging.

The third party agreed teachers needed a wage increase, and the report found that teacher salaries and benefits were quote, "clearly relevant to recruitment and retention of staff.”

Currently, union officials say the district is short 250 teachers. They say certificated staff won’t be eligible for any increase in pay for five years and would take an average $10,000 dollar cut in take-home pay due to increased health insurance costs demanded by the district.

Alice Mercer is a teacher at Hubert Bancroft Elementary.

“I love my kids, I love my family. I love my community — I got to do this — I know it’s painful, but things will not be good if this proceeds," she said.

In a statement Friday, Superintendent Jorge Aguilar said, "The Fact-Finding report is advisory, and is intended to help parties resolve differences so a formal agreement can be reached. Despite concerns about how some of the recommendations could impact our long-term fiscal stability, we are committed to finding solutions that meet the needs of our students and staff."

District officials echoed those statements Monday, adding that its negotiation team spent the weekend preparing for bargaining talks Monday.

Union officials take issue with Aguilar's statement, pointing to $320 million in state and federal COVID-19 relief funding intended to hire teachers and help students, $123 million in reserve funds and Aguilar’s own salary increases. 

“Having somebody consistently get raises, who is not doing their job is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it," said Kim Rodda, a parent who is supporting the strike and is a fellow teacher in another school district.

She and some other parents say, despite the disruption a strike would cause, they support their teachers.

“I know after everything the kids have been through that it’s really hard to miss school and have the schools close, but I think it’s really important to fight for what’s right," said Samantha Benton.

Should no deal be reached by Wednesday, educators plan on a walkout and will meet outside the Serna Center at 11:30 a.m. Sacramento City Unified schools will close on Wednesday should that happen, according to district officials. 

It’s unclear how long the strike would last, but the union has planned a strike in front of the Sacramento County Education office on Thursday, and outside of City Hall and Cesar Chavez Plaza on Friday. 


Sacramento teachers union sets strike date for March 23

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