By Julian Peeples
After more than 250 days without a contract, Mt. Diablo Education Association (MDEA) is united and ready to fight for the resources their students need, announcing today that educators have voted to authorize a strike if necessary.
“The overwhelming majority of MDEA members – 92.3% – are demanding that Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) earnestly engage in discussions with our bargaining team to reach a just and fair contract that ensures that our students will get the education they deserve,” said MDEA President Anita Johnson. “These members have stated emphatically that they are willing to strike if necessary.”
MDEA educators have been working without a contract since June 30, 2021 and they have not had a salary increase since 2017. Despite sufficient revenue to fund MDEA’s request for a 12.5-percent pay increase over six years, MDUSD continues to shortchange students by refusing to offer competitive wages needed to attract and retain the best educators.
“We don’t want to strike, but we will if that is what it takes to ensure that our students get the best education possible,” Johnson said. “Educators would much rather focus on teaching their students than prepare for a strike.”
With the strike authorized by members, MDEA leaders can call a strike if an agreement is not reached after the fact-finding report is released. The report is expected on March 24. MDEA has been negotiating for more than a year with MDUSD on key issues related to investing in student learning, lowering class sizes and valuing employees. The district has rejected MDEA’s proposals to attract and retain the very best educators, and even proposed reducing teacher prep time during often contentious and confrontational negotiations.
“The skills needed to be the most effective educator take time, and rather than investing in every educator they bring on board, MDUSD management is disinvesting by enacting practices that drive more educators out of the district and out of the profession,” Johnson said. “Recruiting and retaining the best educators for our students by paying a living wage should be a top priority for MDUSD.”
MDEA represents more than 1,500 teachers, librarians, school nurses, school counselors, resource specialists, inclusion specialists, audiologists and speech and language pathologists, who serve 29,000 Mt. Diablo students.