News Update

Fresno teachers union pushing for free student laundry, lifetime health benefits in contract talks

Free laundry for students and lifetime health benefits for qualifying workers are among the proposals the Fresno Teachers Association is bringing to the table in contract negotiations with the Fresno Unified School district.

The Fresno Bee reported that the union is attempting to “change the system” itself. “Everything is really built around this idea of: How can we reimagine education? How can we do something different?” union President Manuel Bonilla told the newspaper. “How can we make sure that we’re valuing everybody in our system?”

Among the ideas are opening school parking lots overnight to homeless families of district children with paid security and purchasing hygiene products for students needing them, the Bee reported.

The proposal also asks that the district reset lifetime benefit qualification for employees hired before March 16, 2020, who work for FUSD for at least 20 years, and employees hired between March 17 and Aug. 1, 2023, who work at least 25 years.

The 26-page document proposes as much as a 7.26% raise plus 100% district-paid health care, up from the current 95/5 employer- to employee-covered ratio.

Not everyone is embracing the union’s progressive proposals in the negotiations.

“This is all throwing crap against the wall,” said outgoing trustee Terry Slatic, who’s been skeptical of FTA’s proposed investments for homeless students. “So that when they concede that we’re not going to give it to them,” he said, he expects FTA to push for demands in other areas.