FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNION CITY – Leaders of the 715-member New Haven Teachers Association revealed at a school board meeting tonight that educators have overwhelmingly voted to allow the union to call a strike at any time.
Ninety percent of those voting authorized the use of a strike if administrators in the New Haven Unified School District don't start treating teachers with respect at the bargaining table and settle the contract fairly, said Don Heinsohn, president of the teachers' union.
"We don't want to strike, but we are prepared to do what it takes," Heinsohn said. "We are forced now to consider all options to secure a fair contract that protects health care for New Haven teachers and provides adequate salaries so our community doesn't lose quality teachers to surrounding school districts."
Educators in the 13,000-student district have gone without a contract for nine months. The showdown is over several issues, including the district having the largest class sizes in Alameda County, the district's offer of only a 1.4 percent salary increase, and its attempt to weaken health care benefits.
Heinsohn said the district continues to offer unfair bargaining proposals despite the fact that it's budgeting a $5 million increase in revenues – and is hoarding millions of dollars in reserves, much more than it's required to by the state.
Numerous protests and rallies by the teachers in recent months have not inspired the district to negotiate fairly, Heinsohn said. "Teachers here are at the end of their rope."