Lucia Mar teachers could strike next month

March 25, 2015

grocerystrikeLucia Mar district officials and representatives of its teachers’ union will gather Wednesday for a mediation hearing in an attempt to stave off a strike that could occur in less than a month.

District officials and the Lucia Mar Teachers Association have been deadlocked for months in a contract dispute that could result in a strike taking place as soon as mid-April. The district has offered teachers a two percent raise, but the union is threatening to launch a strike if its members do not receive 10 percent pay increases.

Mediation efforts have thus far failed to produce a tentative agreement. If Thursday’s mediation hearing fails to do so, the union will vote Thursday on whether to authorize a strike.

Due to legal requirements, the earliest date Lucia Mar teachers could begin striking would fall during the district’s spring break. April 13 is the day that follows spring and the most likely date for the work stoppage to begin, it the teachers do decide to strike.

For that to occur, a majority of the teachers’ union members must vote in favor of a strike. Then the union must make one last negotiation attempt, and if that fails, the strike can begin.

The district has already begun preparations for a strike, and it has hired a consultant who is tasked with providing advice on staffing and security issues. Recruitment of substitute teachers is also underway.

Full-time Lucia Mar teachers currently make an average of about $500 a day, while substitutes receive approximately $100. The district plans to pay replacement teachers $300 a day if a strike occurs.

Teacher strikes typically last about three to four days. During strikes, only about half of the students tend to show up to school.

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 just a 2 percent salary increase in the current round of negotiations, their pay will have jumped by more than 8 percent over the last three years. A 10 percent increase would cause teacher pay to rise 16 percent over three years.

The teachers have staged several rallies and marches, which have drawn hundreds of supporters, many of whom are students and parents. The latest march took place prior to Tuesday evening’s school board meeting,

Over the weekend, teachers stood outside local grocery stores and handed out fliers that included personal phone numbers for members of the school board.

Another teacher rally is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today at the district offices. The mediation hearing begins today at 9 a.m.

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48 Comments

  1. Ana di Plosis says:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Lucia Mar Teachers Vote to Authorize Strike
    LMUTA Files Labor Violation Charges Against District

    Arroyo Grande – Lucia Mar Unified Teachers Association Members voted overwhelmingly today to authorize LMUTA’s executive board to call a strike in the event a contract settlement is not reached and the school district imposes its “last, best final” offer 2%, a figure far lower than either the district’s ability to pay or than needed to begin to make Lucia Mar more competitive with neighboring school districts.

    “This vote shows our members are committed to achieving a fair settlement and are ready to stand up for what’s right,” said LMUTA president Donna Kandel. “We all remain hopeful that we can avoid a strike, and while our team remains ready and eager to negotiate, it’s going to take a real change in direction by the school district to help make an agreement happen.”

    A report from a neutral state fact-finder is expected to be released Monday; the two sides have another and probably final opportunity to meet and try to reach an agreement after that release. Today’s vote does not necessarily mean there will be a strike but it makes it much more likely, giving the executive board authority to call one as a last resort.

    In related news, today LMUTA and the California Teachers Association filed Unfair Labor Practice Charges with the Public Employment Relations Board against the school district over numerous items, including threats to illegally stop payment for health benefits, refusal to bargain changes to terms of employment, unilaterally changing leave authorization policies, interfering in protected activities (legal union actions), attempting to undermine union leadership through inflammatory and false statements, threatening and coercing members in attempts to stop them from participating in protected activities, and violating mediation confidentiality by publicly disclosing proposals discussed during mediation.

    “These illegal actions by the District are only making it more difficult to achieve a settlement, and violations like this are a terrible example for students and our community,” said Kandel.

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  2. achillesheal says:

    Hears a mantra for the strikers..

    Those who can, do! Those who can’t, teach!

    (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
    • Ana di Plosis says:

      Those who can’t teach do something less valuable to society, like making money just for their own personal gain. Give it a try, achilles, and you’ll find out how difficult it is to do. And doing it well is a whole other level of difficulty. Taking potshots at teachers while hiding behind your computer — now that’s easy.

      (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down
      • kayaknut says:

        Those who can’t teach….are the taxpayers that pay the teachers salaries, ….. change the pension system and the road blocks to firing bad teachers first and then we will talk about raises.

        (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
      • aft50s says:

        That’s a pretty brazen statement there Ana. If that is the general mind-set of the teachers with regards to the rest of us, that would explain a lot.

        Perhaps you should stop running your mouth-your not helping the teachers cause.

        (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
        • Ana di Plosis says:

          aft50s: How is it “brazen” to believe that, aside from saving a child’s life, which doctors, nurses, firemen, and policemen/women do so valiantly, the most important job in society is to teach/mentor/inspire/coach children to become the very best persons/citizens they can be? Please list all of the other professions that entail that same level of responsibility for and commitment to our community’s most precious resource. Otherwise, sir, I would suggest that you stop running your mouth, as you are not helping the conservative cause whatsoever.

          (-3) 7 Total Votes - 2 up - 5 down
          • truetoblue says:

            How is this a liberal vs. conservative issue? I know people with strong feelings on both sides of this issue that are firmly entrenched on opposite ends of the political spectrum, and as you assume, not all conservatives are anti teacher and not all liberals are anti admin. BTW, the “fat cat” superintendent is a liberal, Cal grad. ??

            (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
          • doglover says:

            I’m not seeing much commitment to those kids right now.
            You have injured them by including children in your H R issue.
            You have taught them to be rude, bullies and act without thinking.
            Models of behavior, no thanks.

            (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  3. SLO_Johnny says:

    I’m tired of all the focus on just increasing salaries for teachers. The teachers also get other very valuable benefits in addition to their pay. Increasing their salaries also increases their pensions. Soon, California will be spending more paying the pensions of retired teachers than we are paying teachers still working in schools. The pension benefits are worth tens of thousands of dollars a year.
    The health care benefits are worth thousands of dollars more each year, especially when the low deductibles and copay are taken into account. We also should not forget the value of getting months of paid vacation each year. When all these other valuable benefits are considered, the teachers are making the equivalent of $80,000 and more per year average. This is very fair when measured against the median income in the district.

    (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down
  4. aghsgrad88 says:

    I know a teacher in Lucia Mar that pays over $900 a month out of pocket for family of 4’s insurance. Sounds like a great deal. Many of you subscribe to the Obama Care and likely pay a similar amount. How is that a “generous benefit”? Also, they had zero pay increase for 5 years or more before the last two increases amounting to about 6% in over 7 years. Also, teachers cannot be replace due to striking. They are well within their rights. I am not a pro-Union person, but in a field where you must have a college degree and cannot get a raise based solely on merit, what are their options. All of you talking badly about them have very little idea what you are talking about. The only reason they are so upset about not getting a fair raise is that they were promised one by the superintendent and the school board during the slump in the economy.

    This is another one of those situations where those who don’t know what they are talking about should stay quit. It doesn’t hurt you all either way. The district gets the money either way. The only business you have making comments is to tell the school board to stop spending money on things that don’t help students! That is what schools are for, not building one mans resume.

    (0) 8 Total Votes - 4 up - 4 down
    • kayaknut says:

      “The only reason they are so upset about not getting a fair raise is that they were promised one by the superintendent and the school board during the slump in the economy”…. many employers made promises to their employees before, during, and after the depression, some employers were able to keep them, some were not, if the employer where you worked did not keep their promise you had two choices, stay or leave and get another job, teachers should do the same.

      The taxpayers are done, they are taxed enough. There is no more money.

      (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
      • Ana di Plosis says:

        So, standing your ground and fighting for what you believe you deserve is not an option for you, eh, kayaknut? Just surrender or retreat? That’s odd — I thought that you conservatives supported the “stand your ground” approach to life. Or does that only apply to armed confrontations? By the way, despite my numerous explanations, you still don’t grasp the concept that the Lucia Mar teachers are not asking for any MORE of your tax dollars; they are simply asking for their FAIR SHARE of the tax dollars that the district already received but refuses to disburse equitably among the people who do the actual teaching.

        (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
        • doglover says:

          Ana
          Please you are so confused about one thing.
          Teachers already have a sweet gig
          So stop complaining.

          (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  5. Pelican1 says:

    Let them eat cake.

    (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
    • Ana di Plosis says:

      The cake that Jim Hogeboom is expecting the Lucia Mar teachers to eat is straight out of “The Help.”

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down

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