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Teachers Vote Down Tentative Labor Deal with WCCUSD

A tentative agreement between the United Teachers of Richmond and the West Contra Costa Unified School District has been voted down.

Local teachers will soon be headed back to the bargaining table and asking for a better labor contract.

The United Teachers of Richmond and the West Contra Costa Unified School District reached a tentative deal that would have provided a 1 percent raise in April and another 0.25 percent raise in July, but it was voted down by educators Wednesday.

"Our members decided that it wasn't good enough," United Teachers of Richmond President Diane Brown said.

The final vote was 480 in favor of the deal and 513 against it, with 65 percent of members voting, she said.

"Basically, the members opposed the salary improvements. They didn't consider it a raise," Brown said. "As a matter of fact ... it was called 'paltry.' "

She pointed out that local teachers haven't seen any salary increases in six years, and are "very much interested in multi-year increases."

The district and union were scheduled to return to the negotiating table April 15, but that date may change now that the tentative deal has been struck down.

"We haven't talked to them [the district] yet," Brown said. "This happened yesterday."

She categorized the negotiations that have taken place so far as difficult but not contentious.

"We would like for the district to let the public know that in our history we have been without any increases," Brown said. "And we would like for the district to publicly say that teachers in this district are a priority and actually show that in the negotiations."

Giorgio C. April 14, 2013 at 03:02 AM
Elin, Paul's comment works in your favor. Think about it for a second instead of getting defensive. The WCCUSD should offer a competitive wage and attract and retain the best. I worked with the best and the worst in the WCCUSD, Elin. The district needs to do more to attract and retain good teachers, otherwise we'll always be forced to keep a few bottom feeders. Start by electing board members who do not divide, but instead, unite the stakeholders, Elin. The divide they share responsibility for creating sunk the Measure K parcel tax that you would have benefitted from. The board dismissed the sometimes valid concerns or complaints of some, and those individuals came back and torpedoed the tax measure with a vengeance. One of those individuals is an education advocate, believe it or not. As you can tell, I'm still pretty steamed about it. The same complaints they had almost caused me to vote against the parcel tax, but in the end, I placed our children before all else. I knew we could address the other stuff at a later date as some of us are now doing. You can thank some board members who are unable to compromise, for that failure, but UTR doesn't have the guts to call them on it. There could have been more support for the classroom under a different leadership, a leadership that listens to everyone, a leadership that acknowledges they are not always right. That's my take on it anyway.
Elin April 14, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Charles, this was a Tentative Agreement between the UTR president and bargaining team, CTA liaison, and the WCCUSD administration. After they are in agreement it goes before the body of members for their vote, and it is here that we teachers voted this TA down, not because there was an actual 1.25% pay raise, which was not actually a pay raise at all, but was instead another way of looking at our health care, increasing single member teachers payments by $10 per month and decreasing members with spouse and child costs. Here it should be noted that in the history of contract negotiations with WCCUSD we teachers had always taken paid health care for the rest of our lives in lieu of pay raises, so when they in our last contract attacked this long standing scenario many teachers who could afford to leave the district did, primarily those who were married and not having to depend on a single income were the ones who could afford to leave. The truest reason though that we teachers voted this TA down was because our seniority status was going to be weakened and seen differently in the district. So now that the TA was voted down, all that means is that we continue to work under the old contract while the UTR bargaining team and the district go back to the bargaining table and come up with a new tentative agreement, which will then go before the members for another vote.
Ira Sharenow April 14, 2013 at 07:05 AM
Teachers already receive approximately 3% annual raises plus the opportunity to receive additional raises by attending workshops. Merit is not a consideration, so the compensation is riskless. Typically those who invest in riskless assets expect to receive lower compensation. Teachers continued to receive raises even when the economy collapsed and inflation was very low. The teachers union supported an increased tax burden on the public when they supported the parcel tax AND bond taxes. In spite of all of these taxes, the district appears to be running a deficit and is in significant financial difficulty. If the teachers receive even bigger pay hikes, it would seem that cuts would have to be made elsewhere. Where does the teachers union want WCCUSD to cut? Or is it supporting another parcel tax hike? Maybe the teachers union needs to run board candidates who support education over construction.
Elin April 14, 2013 at 02:42 PM
GC thank you for responding to my comment. Perhaps, Paul's comment works in my favor if "I wish the District and the union would work together to address teacher performance" made sense. In the short run it doesn't because our District (including the union) is so dysfunctional, but in the long run it does, after all of the other dysfunctions are corrected. There are so many decades of underlying history here, in the district, and in the nation when it comes to education that it would be better if we first had the opportunity to agree on the history, then as we talked about what's happening currently we more likely would see things similarly, but this also depending on what side of the fence we came from, the more conservative or the more liberal. Maybe you, me and Paul should meet for coffee and a few hours of conversation?
Giorgio C. April 14, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Elin, The coffee is on me. You, Paul, and anyone else who wants to share-exchange thoughts and ideas on education, please feel free to shoot me an email. This week, I will be attending the Town Hall Common Core meeting, the Hercules Strategic Plan meeting, and one school site council meeting, so next weekend or after is best. Thanks for the invite, Elin. Giorgio Cosentino gcosentino1964@gmail.com

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