Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324
HAYWARD – Teachers in the 20,000-student Hayward Unified School District will be on strike Thursday morning if the district cannot resolve a crisis over fair pay for educators in the next 48 hours, the Hayward Education Association warned the district this morning.
HEA president Kathleen Crummey delivered the 48-hour strike notice at 9 a.m. “If Superintendent Dale Vigil and the school board think their disrespectful actions towards teachers will have no consequences, then we have news for them,” Crummey said. “Teachers don’t want to strike, but we are overwhelmingly ready to do so to protect Hayward’s public schools and students for years to come.”
Low pay is causing an exodus of Hayward Unified teachers, with more than 100 leaving this school year alone, and more than 500 leaving in the past three years. Adding insult to injury, the district gave its top administrators a 16.84 percent raise for 2006-07. Hayward teachers, among the lowest-paid in the East Bay, are demanding a 16 percent increase over two years, but the district is only offering what amounts to a 1.24 percent raise for this school year – and 1.6 percent for next year, if at least 60 veteran teachers agreed to retire to fund that pittance.
The nearly 1,300 Hayward educators must also pay all of their health benefit costs out of their own salaries. Starting pay is $47,000 and top pay, after 18 years of service, is $79,000. Some Hayward teachers must pay $10,000 or more annually for health coverage. Teachers received only a 0.83 percent raise midyear for the 2005-06 school year.
The teachers will hold a strike update news conference at 4 p.m. Wednesday at strike headquarters, which is their union office at 93 Jackson St. Background material showing the anatomy of the showdown is on the union website at www.heaonline.org/updates.html.
Meeting in Los Angeles for its quarterly gathering on Sunday, the top governing body of the 340,000-member CTA voted unanimously to commit “the full resources” of CTA to support Hayward educators if they strike over their struggle for fair salaries. The CTA State Council of Education’s support came in the form of a resolution that notes low pay is causing an exodus of Hayward Unified teachers.