Thurmond wants Sacramento City Unified district and union leaders to return to the bargaining table
California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond has asked Sacramento City Unified officials and union leaders to return to the table to resolve the strike that has closed schools for three days.
Sacramento City Unified teachers and school staff represented by SEIU 1021 went on strike Wednesday morning. The district serves 45,078 students. Negotiations between union and district officials broke down Wednesday night.
Thurmond also extended the invitation to “meet to restore dialogue” to district Superintendent Jorge Aguilar, the district’s school board, representatives of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, the Sacramento County Office of Education and the state’s Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, according to the California Department of Education.
It’s not clear whether Thurmond planned to be at the table for negotiations.
Aguilar declined Thurmond’s invitation, saying it was not the appropriate process for reaching an agreement with the district’s labor partners.
“We urge SCTA to present a counterproposal to the district’s last proposal so that we can give it due consideration and provide a response,” Aguilar said. “Our community is also wanting to understand what it will take to end this strike. With a counterproposal, the district’s negotiators are prepared to meet around the clock with SCTA so that we can bring our students on Monday. We reached out to SCTA again earlier today to request a response to the district’s last proposal.”
The Sacramento City Teachers Association and school district leaders have been negotiating a contract since early 2019. They also have been bargaining over Covid-related issues for about two years, reaching an impasse in December.
The unions have complained of staffing shortages that have left hundreds of students without a full-time teacher or substitute each day. They say 600 students are on a waiting list for independent study and are getting no instruction.
The district has offered teachers an ongoing 2% salary increase starting in the 2021-22 school year, a 2% bonus for this school year and 1% bonuses for both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, according to the district. They also are offering increased pay for substitutes and nurses and three additional paid professional development days.