Lucia Mar mediation fails again
March 26, 2015
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Yet another mediation attempt failed Wednesday in the Lucia Mar teacher pay dispute that may soon result in a strike.
Union members are scheduled to vote Thursday on whether or not to authorize a strike. Negotiators from both sides must meet at least once more, but if no agreement is reached, a strike may begin on April 13.
The Lucia Mar Teachers’ Association has threatened to launch a strike if its members do not receive 10 percent pay increases. Lucia Mar District officials initially offered the teachers a 2 percent raise.
District administrators have now raised their offer to a 6 percent salary increase implemented over a period of three years, according to a district memorandum obtained by CalCoastNews.
“The union bargaining team left the negotiations without making a formal offer,” the memorandum states.
Union negotiators attempted to end negotiations at 3 p.m. and insisted on stopping at 5 p.m., while district board members wanted to continue talks.
“We were prepared to be there till midnight,” district board member Colleen Martin said. “We were really disappointed that the teachers were not. A strike will have no winners.”
A report compiled by a fact-finding panel is expected to be circulated internally sometime next week and released publicly 10 days later. After the public release of the fact-finding report, the two sides must meet again.
The earliest date Lucia Mar teachers could begin striking falls during the district’s spring break. April 13 is the day that follows spring break and the most likely date for the work stoppage to begin, if the teachers do decide to strike.
A majority vote of union members is required to initiate a strike.
The average Lucia Mar teacher currently receives an annual salary of about $61,000. Lucia Mar teachers received a 2 percent raise in 2012-2013 and a 4.3 percent bump in pay in 2013-2014.
If they receive a 10 percent increase in the current round of negotiations, their pay will have risen 16 percent over three years.
The teachers have staged several rallies and marches which have drawn hundreds of supporters. They have also distributed personal phone numbers for members of the school board.
District officials have already begun searching for substitute teachers willing to cross the picket line.