Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324
HAYWARD – After no formal negotiations for two weeks, the bargaining teams for striking Hayward Unified School District teachers and the district have agreed to a meeting with a state mediator Thursday to try and reach a settlement on salaries.
“We are hopeful that the district is serious about wanting to end this strike,” said Kathleen Crummey, president of the nearly 1,300-member Hayward Education Association. “These new talks are a chance to resolve what’s been a tremendously difficult time for students, parents and educators.”
She said the 20,000-student district will have to increase its salary offer if it really wants to prevent Hayward teachers from leaving for better pay in neighboring districts, as more than 500 have done in the past three years. Beginning teachers, for example, can go to Union City and earn about $9,000 more in the New Haven Unified School District, which also requires educators to pay all of their own health benefit costs out of their salaries, but pays much more.
Hayward teachers rejected the district’s last offer of a meaningless 3 percent “bonus” for this school year, a 7 percent increase starting July 1, and a chance for another 1.6 percent raise if enough experienced educators retire to pay for it. Teachers have shown flexibility at the bargaining table – moving from demanding the same 16.84 percent raise for this school year that was given to top administrators to asking for 16 percent over two years.
Meanwhile, Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney said during the City Council meeting Tuesday night that he intends to send a letter about resolving the strike to Superintendent Dale Vigil and the teachers’ union. Despite the labor crisis, Vigil has been out of town on vacation this week during the district’s spring break. Classes and picket lines will resume on Monday if no agreement is reached.
The City Council introduced a resolution about the strike Tuesday night and will vote on it April 17, despite calls from teachers and parents for an immediate vote due to the urgency of the job action.