Lucia Mar teachers could strike next month
March 25, 2015
Lucia 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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