West Contra Costa Unified, teachers union to enter fact-finding; strike could follow
West Contra Costa Unified and its teachers union, United Teachers of Richmond, will participate in a fact-finding hearing on Feb. 16, potentially leading to a strike the first week of March.
The fact-finding follows months of contract negotiations, including bargaining sessions with a third-party mediator after the district declared an impasse in December. At the hearing, both bargaining teams will present to a fact-finding panel, consisting of one person appointed by the union, another by the district and a state-appointed “neutral,” said United Teachers of Richmond President John Zabala. The neutral member will produce a nonbinding report from facts presented at the hearing, with recommendations for a settlement.
United Teachers of Richmond’s bargaining team must consider that report and the fact-finder’s recommended settlement. After that, the bargaining team can set a date for the strike. The union already held a strike authorization vote in December, with more than 90% of United Teachers of Richond’s membership participating and 97.3% voting in favor of a strike.
Zabala said the soonest the union could legally go on strike would be the first week of March, though he hopes the parties can reach a settlement before it comes to that.