By Sheri Williams
Sacramento teachers will strike for a second day on May 22 to protest continuing unfair labor practices by the district and its refusal to honor its contract.
“In November of 2017, the district and SCTA signed an agreement that the district has refused to honor, thereby breaking its promises to students and educators,” said David Fisher, head of the Sacramento City Teachers Association.
Teachers were forced to conduct a one-day strike in April, after the district failed to negotiate in good faith, said union leaders.
Recently, teachers won an important court victory when an arbitrator ruled in their favor, agreeing that the district was in the wrong on its refusal to honor agreed-upon pay increases for underpaid, middle tenure teachers.
The arbitrator said the district had breached its agreement, reached last year, to bring the pay of mid-career teachers up to make it competitive with other districts. Sacramento has been losing many teachers to surrounding districts that pay thousands more per year in some instances, causing a drain of skilled teachers in district classrooms.
“We look forward to working with the District to implement the arbitrator’s award immediately and hope that this decision encourages the District to honor our contract going forward,” read a statement from teachers union President David Fisher given to The Bee.
Sacramento teachers have received overwhelming support from parents and communities. During the April strike, hundreds of students and families joined their teachers on the picket lines, bringing donuts and other gifts in support.
The Sacramento Central Labor Council and other unions also joined in solidarity, as they will in the May strike.
“The Sacramento Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO stands united behind the Sacramento City Teachers Association in their unfair labor practice strike against the Sacramento Unified School District,” said Fabrizio Sasso, head of the SCLC. “The effort of SCUSD to walk away from an approved collective bargaining agreement and the massive unlawful, unfair labor practices engaged in by the District are a threat to working families throughout the Sacramento region. The Sacramento Central Labor Council calls on the District to honor the contract and obey the law. And to the educators in Sac City, be assured that on behalf of the 170,000 union members affiliated with the Sacramento Central Labor Council, we got your back to have your contract honored.”
Media outlet NEA today reported that, “Sacramento’s Kara Synhorst, an English teacher of nearly 20 years, captured the sentiments of many educators in a video posted to Facebook: ‘I’m offended and insulted at the way teachers are being portrayed…My union has offered ways for the district to save money…If anyone is refusing to come to the table, it’s Mr. Aguilar and the district. We have a contract. Don’t ask us to negotiate a new one when you won’t even implement the last one—because [as] my students already know: A deal is a deal.’”
SCTA represents 2,800 Sacramento Unified professionals, including teachers, school nurses, psychologists, social workers and others. The last time the SCTA went on strike was 1989.