YCUSD asks state board to require union leaders to negotiate a settlement rather than strike

YCUSD asks state board to require union leaders to negotiate a settlement rather than strike
Posted on 08/01/2016
August 1, 2016
Public Statement

The Yuba City Unified School District today petitioned a state board to require union leaders to negotiate on behalf of teachers rather than continuing to ignore the bargaining process.

The district’s request came in amendments to a filing originally made in May, when YCUSD notified the Public Employment Relations Board of unfair labor practices by the leadership of the Yuba City Teachers Association. In that filing, and in the amendment filed today, YCUSD laid out numerous examples of illegal bargaining practices by YCTA leadership, most notably their refusal to participate in negotiations in any meaningful or constructive way.

The school district’s filing with the state comes as union leaders appear increasingly determined to strike during the first weeks of the new school year, which starts on Aug. 11. Any teacher strike is troubling, but the apparent determination of YCTA leaders to inflict a strike on the community is particularly worrisome, as it comes after months of non-engagement in negotiations that could have led to an agreement.

Since September 2015, YCUSD has made at least six different proposals to union leadership, including a number that offered raises in excess of the recommendations of a neutral state panel.

In July, a neutral state panel analyzed both sides of the stalled negotiations and recommended a settlement that was consistent with, though somewhat lower than, the offer on the table from the District. Throughout our region, teachers’ unions and school districts have agreed to contracts featuring raises typically in the range of 3-4 percent.

Despite this, YCTA leadership continues to insist it will strike unless it receives a 13 percent raise -- nearly seven times the neutral panel’s recommendation and approximately four times higher than those seen in surrounding districts.

No one wins in a teacher strike, least of all students. Teachers, too, suffer in a strike, as even a short strike costs a teacher more in lost pay than can reasonably be gained from the union’s tactic.  Average teacher salary in our district is about $67,000 for 183 contracted work days.  That means for every day spent on strike, the average teacher in our district would lose more than $365 in salary and benefit payments, as well as valuable service time toward a pension.

Our community works tirelessly and gives generously to support our schools, and we believe it deserves better than this.   Our community should not be subjected to a disruptive and harmful strike when realistic and reasonable alternatives remain unexplored and unexamined by union leadership.

We continue to hope that union leadership will choose compromise and negotiation over standoff and strike. Because this appears less likely with each passing week, we have asked YCTA to declare whether and when they intend to strike. We believe our community is entitled to this information as we seek to minimize the impact of a strike on our students. The District also will seek assistance from the state board to act on behalf of Yuba City students, families and teachers to help prevent a destructive and unnecessary strike.

A copy of the Amended Unfair Labor Practice Charge may be viewed here