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By Julian Peeples

After six powerful days on the picket line, the Rohnert Park Cotati Educators Association (RPCEA) won a tentative agreement yesterday, ending their strike and returning to classrooms today.

The agreement, which will be voted on by RPCEA’s 320 members, provides a 14.6-percent raise over three years: a staggered, on-schedule pay raise of 6 percent this year, 5 percent next year and 3.6 percent in 2023-24. RPCEA members will also receive a $2,000 off-schedule bonus this year and a $1,000 bonus next year.

“We think this agreement is a monumental shift for our District which will prioritize teachers in the budget,” RPCEA said in a post on their Facebook page.

The agreement came after six days of solidarity on the picket lines by the Rohnert Park-Cotati community that kept the pressure on school district management to do the right thing.

“I think we’re all just in a little bit of shock right now,” RPCEA Vice President Lisa Bauman told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat on St. Patrick’s Day. “We had the luck of the Irish with us today!”

Once approved, the new contract will help improve the retention and recruitment of quality educators for the schools that Rohnert Park Cotati students deserve. RPCEA educators were paid almost 20% less than the state average, leading a neutral state-appointed fact-finder to recommend the 14.6 percent raise.

The strike became a community-wide movement, with parents keeping their children home in solidarity and joining educators on the picket line, along with members of other CTA locals and other unions, like SEIU and the Teamsters. The CTA Board of Directors also joined RPCEA, bringing love and energy from CTA’s 310,000 members to the streets of Rohnert Park and Cotati.

“Thank you for the overwhelming outpouring of support,” RPCEA said on Facebook. “We will come out of this stronger!”

While RPCEA members are relieved for the strike to be over, there will be impacts for the educators who went without pay for the past six days. Please consider donating to RPCEA’s strike relief fund to support these educators who stood together for each other and their students.

 

 

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