Teachers consider strike as district fails in its contract

By Sheri Williams

Sacramento teachers may be forced onto the picket lines soon to fight SCUSD to honor its contract with them.

“It’s truly unfortunate that teachers may be forced to strike,” said David Fisher, president of the Sacramento City Teachers Association, said in a statement. “What kind of example are [district officials] setting for the 40,000 students in our district?”

Ninety-two percent of the union’s members voted to authorize a strike in March, though no date has been set. The strike would be to protest the massive unfair labor practices and unlawful activity of Superintendent Jorge Aguilar and other district administrators and school board members, according to the union.

“States and large school districts across California and the country have had major strikes over the past year, but this would be the first big city strike sparked by ‘unfair labor practices’ and a district’s reneging on terms of a contract agreement,” the union said in a statement. “The SCTA Executive Board may call a strike – at a date likely in the next month – if Aguilar and the Sac City Unified Schools District persist in their unlawful behavior and avoid taking measure to correct their actions.”

SCTA said the district is:

  • Refusing to honor the collective bargaining agreement approved by teachers and the District in December 2017 which included class size reduction and increased numbers of school nurses and psychologists, and in effect, repudiating the contract
  • Refusing to meet at reasonable times and places with representatives the educators have elected to have represent them, and attempting to dictate who the teachers have represent them at the bargaining table
  • Making unilateral and unlawful changes to the wages and working conditions of teachers without bargaining
  • Failing to send district representatives to the bargain table who have the authority to negotiate on behalf of the district, rendering bargaining meaningless
  • And others

SCTA represents 2,800 education professionals, including teachers, school nurses, psychologists, social workers and others.

A strike is a possibility because for nearly one year and through more than 25 bargaining sessions, the District’s leadership has failed to bargain in good faith during negotiations with the union, it said in a statement. “The District is in the best financial position in its history. Ongoing revenue from the state has increased by $127 million or 57 percent since 2012-13, but salaries for educators have increased by only 8 percent during the same period,” the union said.

The Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) sued the Sacramento City Unified School District, including Superintendent Jorge Aguilar and School Board President Jessie Ryan and other school board for having unlawfully “engaged in discussions regarding general budgetary matters in closed sessions meeting in February and March 2019 and then adopted resolutions for layoffs that necessarily relied upon the underlying illegal budget discussion.