The bargaining teams for LMUTA and LMUSD met on Thursday, May 17, 2018, in an attempt to negotiate a successor agreement to our 2017/18 contract. We were unable to come to an agreement, and will resume negotiations in October. Our contract expires on June 30, 2018.
We continued to work on language regarding extra duty, especially nighttime events. The results of the recent online survey of members indicated that expectations for nighttime events are uneven around the district, with some sites hosting numerous mandatory events while other sites did not require attendance at any events other than Back to School and Open House. We attempted to clarify this language and provide a consistent expectation for extra duty. (Note: neither the survey nor our efforts at the table affect voluntary participation; we are seeking clarification of language in order to create clear and equitable expectations for all of our members.)
We also proposed language which would increase the release time or compensation for teachers who are being asked to move out of their classrooms due to facility modernization and/or new construction. We are attempting to negotiate additional sub-release days, as well as an increase in compensatory pay for those who do not utilize sub-release time. We will continue to work on this language. A sticking point for us is that we want the increase in pay or sub-release time to be retroactive for those teachers who have already had to move this year. This district rejected this idea, but we feel that teachers who have already moved should not be compensated differently than teachers at other sites.
We countered the District’s 0.7% salary increase with our proposal for a 5.3% increase.
The District gave us a comprehensive proposal as follows:
- An offer of a 1% increase on the salary schedule.
- An extension of the language authorizing a one-time signing bonus of $5000 to new-hires in hard-to-fill positions.
- Increase in the maximum service credit for new hires to 12 years.
- 4 days of sub-release or equivalent pay at the long-term sub rate ($115 per day) for teachers involuntarily moving classrooms due to modernization or construction.
- An agreement to limit mandatory evening duties to Open House and Back to School events, but only in exchange for deleting contract language which allows the bargaining unit to review and collaboratively determine extra duty practices at individual sites.
The district made it clear that they were not prepared to move off of their 1% salary increase. We opted to end negotiations and return in the fall, when the district’s Unaudited Actuals will give a more precise picture of district revenue and expenditures, and enrollment numbers will be clearer.
We welcome input from our members, as always. On a personal note, I am impressed with the collaborative and professional efforts of our bargaining team. Our new Bargaining Chair, Tami McGuire, spent 5 days at UCLA last summer for negotiations training. She is well-prepared and a strong advocate for our members. Our outgoing chair, Bill Ridge, took on the analysis of our health benefits plan, and did a great job reducing our out-of-pocket expenses and saving money for the district, while preserving the same coverage we depend on for ourselves and our families. The $500 bonus, intended to fund a Flexible Spending Account through Aflac, ensures that no member will pay extra for an increased deductible on their plan, and the majority will enjoy more flexible access to their healthcare dollars.
You may nave noted the chart that was attached to the District’s Bargaining Update (on district email on Thursday, May 17). The chart shows that LMUTA has been able to negotiate a steady increase in compensation over the last few years, after years of falling behind our neighboring districts. We are proud of this record, but it didn’t happen by accident. It happened because our members organized and stood together for fair wages and better working conditions. We’ve accomplished quite a bit, but we aren’t done yet. The chart comparing salary increases doesn’t tell the whole story. It only shows how much we’ve increased compared to other districts, but it doesn’t show those increases as a share of new revenue into the district, thanks to the Local Control Funding Formula. While basis aid districts have seen their revenue increases flatten out under the LCFF, Lucia Mar has seen significant increases in state revenue. We have been consistently advocating for our fair share of new revenue. While we’ve made important gains in our salary schedule (and we are grateful for this as well as for the $500 bonus under our Health Benefits MOU), we still aren’t competitive as compared to surrounding districts. We will continue to push to make sure our members are fairly and competitively compensated.
Together, in unity, we are a powerful voice for teachers, our profession, and our students. Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions; we have every incentive to join hands and work for a better future for Lucia Mar today and into the future.