Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324
HAYWARD – Teachers in Hayward Unified School District went on strike this morning and set up picket lines as the indifferent school district failed to take any meaningful steps to resolve a salary crisis.
Teachers planned to be on the picket lines by about 6:30 a.m. at most or all 38 school sites in the 20,000-student Hayward district. (Media can find large picket lines at Hayward High, and Longwood and Cherryland elementary schools.) A huge community rally of parents, teachers and other supporters is planned for noon today at Birchfield Park, corner of Winton and Santa Clara streets in Hayward.
“This is a teachable moment,” said Kathleen Crummey, president of the nearly 1,300 member Hayward Education Association. “We did not want to strike, but now we are. Teachers are being forced to teach the school board a lesson we hope they remember. The lesson is that Hayward teachers are willing to strike now to protect the quality of education here for years to come.”
Low pay is causing an exodus of district 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. Teachers Wednesday night rejected the district’s new offer of a 3 percent one-time “bonus” for this school year; 7 percent on the salary schedule for the new school year that begins July 1; and an additional 1.6 percent raise for next school year that would be paid only if enough veteran teachers agreed to retire to fund that pittance.
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. Background material showing the anatomy of the showdown is on the union website at www.heaonline.org/updates.html.
Members: Log in to MyCTA to view video of Hayward protest.