February 2016 – Avoiding a possible strike, San Lorenzo Unified School District educators reached a tentative contract agreement Feb. 3 after a marathon negotiating session. The settlement will help the 10,000-student district recruit and retain its teachers, who have been leaving for better-paying districts in the East Bay.
The agreement, reached after one year of difficult negotiations, will provide raises of 7 percent over two years if members vote to ratify it, the 580-member San Lorenzo Education Association (SLEA) announced. San Lorenzo educators had been among the lowest-paid in Alameda County. A ratification vote will be scheduled soon, said SLEA President Donna Pinkney, who thanked the community for its strong support for educators during months of contract talks.
“Through the power and strength of organizing, parent support, and our unity, SLEA reached a tentative agreement with the district that will benefit our students by helping to halt teacher turnover,” Pinkney said. “This settlement is a good step in the right direction toward investing in educators and the future of our community.”
The agreement was reached during a fact-finding process before a state appointee. Once that process had completely ended, SLEA leaders had the option of calling a strike due to an overwhelming vote of the membership in January supporting the strike option.
Months of negotiations were punctuated by rallies and informational picketing held before and after school. In December, teachers presented to the school board petitions signed by more than 1,000 San Lorenzo parents backing raises for educators.
Some of the 7 percent in raises on the salary schedule will be phased in. Educators will receive a small 1.55 percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2015, and an additional 3.45 percent effective March 1, 2016, for a total increase in this school year of 5 percent. For next school year, educators will received another 1 percent effective July 1, 2016, thereby beginning the year with a 6 percent raise, with the final installment of 1 percent more coming in February of 2017.
See media coverage of the settlement here.