The following press release clearly outlines the issues confronting the Alameda Teachers. What stands out, of course, is the significant discrepancy between the wages and the benefits of the superintendent and the teachers. The superintendent is now urging another vote.
Alameda Education Association March 30, 2012
2329 Santa Clara Ave. #205
Alameda, CA 94501
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Alameda Education Association Members Vote
To Reject Inferior New Labor Contract Agreement
ALAMEDA – In a show of solidarity, Alameda Unified School District educators have strongly rejected a tentative contract agreement that fails to respect the sacrifices educators have been making in this district for years, the Alameda Education Association (AEA) announced today.
The tentative agreement was overwhelmingly rejected by a two to one margin. For over a year, the Alameda Education Association bargaining team has worked tirelessly trying to make AUSD understand that the teachers’ good will cannot be counted on in perpetuity. Teachers cannot continue to live in the Bay Area on the brink of poverty – some are actually eligible for food stamps. While both sides hope to get back to the bargaining table, leaders of AEA will now explore all options.
Rather than negotiate in good faith to reach a fair settlement, the district gave the superintendent a yearly 3 percent raise, fully paid health benefits, and $15,000 in bonus pay. A teacher with a family pays approximately $1,000 a month out of pocket for health benefits. In October, AUSD revealed for the first time that they had $1 Million in surplus funds from last year, in addition to their $17.5 Million unrestricted ending balance after a year of eight furlough days for teachers. AUSD ignored the public outcry and spent zero of those dollars on teachers. AUSD continues to refuse AEA’s suggested compromises while squandering and mismanaging the resources made available to them. Alameda’s teachers make nearly the lowest salary in all of Alameda County.
The rejected agreement offered a 1 percent, one-time bonus for teachers that ranged between $398 and $799, depending on the teacher’s years of experience. Another 1.5 percent in compensation was not even guaranteed as ongoing, depending on future revenues from Sacramento. The last year teachers got raises was 2008, and the district’s miniscule temporary compensation offer was not sufficient to warrant the permanent concessions they demanded.
“At some point AUSD will have to make teachers a priority and stop presuming that we will be able to continually sacrifice,” said Gray Harris, president of the 524-member AEA. “We cannot continue to wait patiently for AUSD to begin taking care of the business of educating our young people. Teachers are ready to stand up for what is right and just for Alameda’s educational community. AEA is ready to continue through the fact finding process and will be prepared for whatever it brings. I want to thank all of Alameda’s teachers for voting and voicing their opinions.”
The Alameda Education Association is affiliated with the 325,000-member California Teachers Association and the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.