Lucia Mar teachers endorse a strike
March 27, 2015
The South County teachers’ union currently engaged in a pay dispute with the Lucia Mar Unified School District voted Thursday to authorize a strike.
Representatives of the Lucia Mar Unified Teachers Association must still meet at least once more time with district negotiators. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, a strike is likely to begin on April 16.
In addition to endorsing a strike, the teachers’ union filed unfair labor practice charges against the district on Thursday. The complaint filed with the California Public Employment Relations Board alleges the district engaged in numerous illegal actions, including threatening to stop paying health benefits, unilaterally changing leave authorization policies and attempting to undermine union leadership through inflammatory and false statements.
Public employee unions commonly file unfair labor practice complaints during contract disputes.
Several mediation attempts have failed to solve the Lucia Mar dispute. The teachers’ union has demanded a 10 percent pay increases for its members.
District administrators initially offered a 2 percent raise. On Wednesday, they raised their offer to a 6 percent increase to be implemented over a period of three years.
Union negotiators left Wednesday’s mediation hearing without making a formal offer.
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.
A report compiled by a fact-finding panel is expected to be circulated internally sometime next week and released publicly 10 days later. The two sides must meet release after the release of the report.
District officials have already begun preparations for a strike. They are currently searching for substitute teachers willing to cross the picket line.
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